More public safety tips: How to make a good 911 call



Credit: PreventionWorksInSeattle

I was at the Thorton Creek Alliance (TCA) meeting for provocative community meeting last night, where neighbors had a productive conversation about public safety. Terrie Johnston, a neighborhood liaison from the Seattle Police Department’s North Precinct, spoke. 

The neighbors in this area are concerned – as is everyone in our city – about how to keep their neighborhood safe.  For the TCA, the focus of discussion was their beloved Beaver Pond Natural Area, where the trees were recently attacked by one or more vigilantes with chain saws. The conversations were split between neighbors who were concerned about the sensitivity of the green space, and also those who wanted to organize and patrol the natural area, which can become an all-too convenient hiding place for people up to no good.

Following on my earlier post this week about neighbors working to create safe, green, and connected neighborhoods, I wanted to pass along the following basic, but very important, tips from Terrie Johnston of SPD about when and how to make a 911 call:

First:  Use 911 when you see anything that worries you.  Don’t be shy about it. The current thinking is “If you see something, say something.” 

Second:  When the 911 dispatchers answer, simply state what you are reporting.

Third:  Know the address or street intersections. Tell SPD where you need them to respond.

Fourth:  Let the call taker control the call, so he or she is asking you the questions.

Lastly:  Stay on the line until advised to hang up.

Tip: Make sure, when you call 911, that you get a case number or incident number. It’s the first thing the police will ask you for if you need to follow up.

Terrie told us that many people don’t call 911 if they are worried, or even after a crime has been committed. Maybe they think the police won’t respond, or maybe they think they may be viewed as silly.

Whatever the reason, know that the police WANT you to inform them. They keep the statistics, and having your call in the database may help you and the police in ways we can’t envision at the time of the call.

For the sake of your neighborhood make the call and report bad actions. Your call will literally get your neighborhood on the map for SPD.

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