It was one year ago today that the Prince George's County Public Safety Communications 9-1-1 center moved into a brand new building in Bowie, where the employees field about 5,000 calls every day.
We got to check out the call center this week in our most recent Prince George's County Police Department Citizens' Police Academy class, where we actually put on head sets to listen to incoming 9-1-1 calls. We also took home lots of interesting stats and helpful information about how the center operates and what callers should know about when dialing 9-1-1:
- Do not hang up. If you hang up, a call-taker is required to call you back. If you don't answer, a police officer will be dispatched to the caller's address.
- Non-emergency calls to request the dispatch of public safety personnel should be made to 301-352-1200. Use this number to report things like a property damage accident, break-in to a vehicle or theft of property that occurred several hours ago, vandalism when the suspect is gone, loud music or party that is causing a disturbance or a car blocking the street or driveway. Calling 9-1-1 for such incidents will tie up emergency call-takers, who won't be able to respond to actual emergency calls while they're transferring you.
- Each call taker is trained to handle sheriff, police and fire/EMS calls, so that the callers aren't transferred.
- If you call 9-1-1, be prepared to answer lots of questions, and to provide an address or to describe your location. Also be prepared to describe the emergency, involved individuals, vehicles, etc.
- Once the initial questions are asked, the call for service data is routed via computer to the Public Safety Communications dispatcher so that the appropriate public safety units will be sent to the emergency. While the dispatcher is sending emergency response units, the call taker will continue to ask more questions.
- The call-taker will stay on the line as public safety responders are sent to the caller's location.
- Have questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the most recent post in a series of blog posts about my experience as a student in the Prince George's County Citizens' Police Academy. Do you want to learn more about blogging? Email Shannon.Hoffman@Patch.com.