When to Call or Text 911 for Police

Calling 911 is appropriate when:

  • Someone is hurt and needs help
  • Someone is hurting someone else
  • There is smoke or fire
  • Someone is taking something which is not theirs
  • There is suspicious activity: "If you see something... say something"
  • Text-to-911: "Call if you can... text if you can't"

What Happens When 911 is Called

  • The City's phone system captures the phone number, carrier and estimated location/address the call is coming from- for example, from a residence, business, cell phone tower, or cell phone handset
  • The 911 telecommunicator answers “911 what is your Emergency: Police, Fire, or EMS?” and stays on the line until the requested department answers
  • The telecommunicator asks questions- including verification of the location and phone number- to determine needs and prioritize the call, then sends the appropriate emergency service
  • Callers requesting service from any agency outside of Cleveland are transferred directly by Telecommunicator
  • Cell phones that are not “active” or have no service plan can dial 9-1-1 however if the call is disconnected they can’t be called back to verify the location or to check if an emergency exists 

Reporting Emergencies To Police

Callers should remain calm and give information slowly. All calls, emergency or not, are answered by the same operators. Callers are asked to report:

  • Name, address and phone number
  • Type of incident
  • Whether the crime is in progress or has already happened and the time it happened, if known
  • Details which may include: type of weapon, descriptions of suspects, license plate numbers, direction of travel or other details

Callers are asked to remain on the telephone to assist the telecommunicator as much as possible, a response will not be delayed by answering questions. The more information given to the police, the better the emergency can be served. Safety is key and the caller and his/her family should stay out of harm’s way. After the incident is reported, it is a good idea for the caller to write down everything that happened,  as they may be contacted for additional information.

Other Police Contact Numbers

The police non-emergency number is 216.621.1234 and should be called for situations where police are needed but there is no immediate danger, and for asking questions about police or safety issues.

The police Administration number is 216.623.5000 (Weekdays 6:30 am to 10:30 pm) and should be called for administrative purposes, general information, and for directions to a specific unit.

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