1. #1
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    JimCorrigan's Avatar
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    311 Non-Emergency Telephone Service Systems

    My question is about the 311 Non-Emergency Telephone Service systems used in some cities. Do think such systems help if your jurisdiction has such a system or would you like to see such a system installed if it does not?

    I live in Seattle Washington which does not have such a system. I work as a security officer, for most of my career (16 years) at large sites with multiple CCTV systems. Let me give a few examples where I think a 311 call would have been a favorable alternative to the 911 system.

    1. A fellow security officer and I observed on camera, an individual spraying graffiti on the side of a building we were assigned to protect. We called 911. It was 2:00 A.M. and there were apparently no other crimes going on at moment in time and a patrol car on routine patrol just 2 blocks away. We had a response in less than 2 minutes. The officers caught him and they were happy they did since it turned out the person spraying paint was responsible for multiple tagging incidents causing over $150,000 worth of damage in the Seattle area. He was on probation for numerous such offenses and wound up going to prison for 3 years.
    2. We observed 2 individuals trying car doors on parked cars as they walked down the street. (Again early morning hours). Called 911 and a patrol car cruised by a few minutes later. Never found out if they arrested anybody.
    3. We observed a male individual walking down the street and going through a purse and discarding items from it as he went. Called 911. This time no response that I know of. We gathered up the discarded items, found some ID and called the person who said she had had her purse stolen. We returned items to her and she contacted police later to report it.

    The point being that none of these incidents were what I would call real time emergencies and it required some real persuasion on my part to get my fellow security officer to call the police at all, who thought nobody would respond, but they always have.

    It just seems a 311 system would be useful to divide these types of calls from more immediate 911 response type calls. What do you think?

    I apologize if this post is over long.
    One must think like a hero merely to behave like a decent human being.

  2. #2
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    IDK how it is in seattle, but down here in FLA the same people who answer 911, answer non emergency lines.. As long as you have a legit complaint there is no problem with calling 911 for any of those scenarios. You will get slapped with misuse of 911 if you call several times (usually 6+) with useless calls like asking me to deliver a pizza to your house, or your feeling frisky do I want to come over; also not smart to just call 911 and start cursing at them for no reason. Other then that, when you're assigned to a job, look up the local police NON EMERGENCY # and take a few extra seconds to dial the numbers.

    and just to clarify from dispatch point of view, those 3 scenarios do merit 911

    non emergency phone # is appropriate when you want to inquire about an injunction / you wake up and find your veh was burg, with no suspect on scene / you want to set up an area patrol....stuff like that "NON EMERGENCY" stuff hope this helps
    Last edited by dontcallmeradio; 12-26-2009 at 09:32 AM.

  3. #3
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    311 is for non emergency city response.

    There is a water leak

    Is trash going to picked up today?

    I lost the number for the recorder of deeds what is it?

    How can I get a parking permit?

    Crimes in progress should be 911. My vehicle was stolen an yesterday should not be 911. However kids spraying graffiti is in progress and should be 911

  4. #4
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    We have our animal control officers being dispatched by 311. They are also on a different channel. 2 weeks ago one got into it with someone and was yelling for help on her radio. The 311 operator picked it up and had to call 911 to get PD to assist. FORTUNATELY, a number of the guys monitor their channel so by the time it was dispatched we had 9 guys headed there. She was ok....

  5. #5
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    ChiTownDet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimCorrigan View Post
    My question is about the 311 Non-Emergency Telephone Service systems used in some cities. Do think such systems help if your jurisdiction has such a system or would you like to see such a system installed if it does not?

    I live in Seattle Washington which does not have such a system. I work as a security officer, for most of my career (16 years) at large sites with multiple CCTV systems. Let me give a few examples where I think a 311 call would have been a favorable alternative to the 911 system.

    1. A fellow security officer and I observed on camera, an individual spraying graffiti on the side of a building we were assigned to protect. We called 911. It was 2:00 A.M. and there were apparently no other crimes going on at moment in time and a patrol car on routine patrol just 2 blocks away. We had a response in less than 2 minutes. The officers caught him and they were happy they did since it turned out the person spraying paint was responsible for multiple tagging incidents causing over $150,000 worth of damage in the Seattle area. He was on probation for numerous such offenses and wound up going to prison for 3 years.
    2. We observed 2 individuals trying car doors on parked cars as they walked down the street. (Again early morning hours). Called 911 and a patrol car cruised by a few minutes later. Never found out if they arrested anybody.
    3. We observed a male individual walking down the street and going through a purse and discarding items from it as he went. Called 911. This time no response that I know of. We gathered up the discarded items, found some ID and called the person who said she had had her purse stolen. We returned items to her and she contacted police later to report it.

    The point being that none of these incidents were what I would call real time emergencies and it required some real persuasion on my part to get my fellow security officer to call the police at all, who thought nobody would respond, but they always have.

    It just seems a 311 system would be useful to divide these types of calls from more immediate 911 response type calls. What do you think?

    I apologize if this post is over long.
    311 (in Chicago) is the City operator and as one poster said, calls for city services, information, and get routed to the proper city agencies. This frees up 911 for Police and Fire emergencies. All those things that you described above were "in progress" crimes. If you didn't think that you should call 911, who do you think you would call for a Criminal damage to property in progress, attempt burglary to auto / auto theft in progress, or a robbery in progress?

    That's why you're a security guard..

  6. #6
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    stormz5192's Avatar
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    People call 911 for anything. They are super important and no matter how trivial, their complaint is worthy of 911. They have no cares that they are mis using the system.
    Being a good street cop is like coming to work in a wet suit and peeing in your pants. It's a nice warm feeling, but you're the only one who knows anything has happened.

  7. #7
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    Our big problem here is not really a non-emergency vs/ emergency issue, it's that our dispatchers give people the option of if the want a response or not. Almost no-one declines wishing face to face contact for their earth shattering experience.

    I am a firm believer in an Officer (supervisor level) sitting in the dispatch center and handling non priority calls. The caller can either call this number directly or be transfered there by 911. Some examples:

    1. "I came out and my parked car was hit over night." You don't need a response, you need a report number for insurance. Non-emergency.

    2. "Some threw eggs at my house and I just want something official." Here is your report number, no response.

    With our system all calls are tracked within the dispatch software, so the idea of crime tracking/statistics can be done without a single written report. There is no reason to tie up either 911 operators or officers with crap.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by careerchange#2 View Post

    1. "I came out and my parked car was hit over night." You don't need a response, you need a report number for insurance. Non-emergency.
    .
    SO what your saying is your agency doesnt process for prints or investigate the actual crime scene at all? Which town / county do you work for so I can steeeer clear.

  9. #9
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    Process what scene? Larceny from auto and malicious desteruction yes we most deffinately process the scene and try to collect evidence.

    Simple hit and run with no suspect information? What am I going to process? I'm not gonna take a paint chip to the lab and go all CSI on it. People call in those cases simply because they need a report number for their insurance claims.

  10. #10
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    PeteBroccolo's Avatar
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    We have 911 up here, but it seems to REALLY delay relaying of calls, since they notify EMS/MHS, then FD, then Police in that order. 911 here does not dispatch EMS/MHS, FD nor Police, but passes the call-for-service onto each Agency's dispatcher.

    My Force has a Province-wide, toll-free numberr, 310-7267, for non-life-or-death calls that goes direct to our central dispatcher, plus uses Voice Mail / Call-Forwarding on the main phone lines of each Detachment. VM / C-F automatically kicks in on the 4th ring, or can be initiated immediately with 1 button. The "clients" are given the option of staying on the line, or hitting "0", to get through immediately to the central dispatcher for urgent messages, or hitting "2" to leave a non-urgent message that the on-duty or on-call members check as duties / time permits.
    1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29: RCMP RM 32936. Just callin' 'em as I sees 'em! PM full - e-mail me. House paid, best health of my life, 33+ years married to the same hot woman, triple-dipping, lots of grand-kids, long dark luxurious hair - yep, retired is EXCELLENT!

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