Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Review Frequently Asked Questions. Activate blue buttons to reveal answers.

Question 1:  When should I call 9-1-1?

Answer: 9-1-1 should be used to report: life threatening emergencies, crimes in progress, medical issues, fires, or any situation where there is a potential for violence.

Question 2: What if I call 9-1-1 for something that is not an emergency?

Answer: You will be provided with the City of Phoenix non-emergency phone number, Crime Stop, which is (602) 262-6151.

Question 3: When should I call Crime Stop?

Answer: Crime Stop can be used whenever you need to speak to the Phoenix Police about a non-emergency. Some examples include reporting a property crime not in progress, calling about an abandoned vehicle, or general information calls.

Question 4: Why do I have to give my location when calling? Don’t you know where I am?

Answer: Providing the address when you call 9-1-1 is the single most important piece of information you can provide to us. The vast majority of our calls are received from wireless phones, depending on the GPS technology in the phone, this only provides the approximate location of the caller. We will always ask you for your exact location, as this is vital to sending you help.

Question 5: Why does the operator keep asking me questions? If they just sent the police, they would find out all they need to know.

Answer: Answering the Communications Operator’s questions does not delay the police response in any way. While you are answering questions when reporting an emergency, the information is being sent to a dispatcher who is updating the officers as they respond to you. Situations change quickly in the time it takes for an officer to respond, and the chances of apprehending a suspect or stopping a violent act in progress are greatly increased when you provide the information the operator is asking for.

Question 6: Can a disconnected cell phone call 9-1-1?

Answer: Yes! Disconnected cell phones that are charged are still able to dial 9-1-1. If you do not pay for cell phone service, but have an old phone, you can keep it with you in case you need to use it to report an emergency situation on 9-1-1. Please keep this information in mind when giving your old phone to a child to play with, as we receive many calls from children playing on disconnected cell phones. These calls take time away from answering real emergency calls.

Question 7: What should I do if I call 9-1-1 by mistake?

Answer: Simply stay on the phone and tell the Communications Operator you dialed by mistake. When you dial 9-1-1 and immediately hang up, your call still comes through as a built in safety feature of the emergency system. This causes the operator to have to call back, delaying the response to valid emergencies.

Question 8: When I call 9-1-1, why do I get someone different every time?

Answer: Depending on the time of day you call, there may be up to 30 different Communications Operators answering calls. When you call more than once about a situation, please keep in mind, as there is a very good chance you will be speaking to a different operator the second time around. This operator will need to ask you about your situation again, as they need to make sure the call is handled appropriately.

Question 9: Are Communications Operators also Police Officers?

Answer: No, Communications Operators are civilian employees. You will not speak to a Police Officer when calling 9-1-1 or Crime Stop.

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