THE TRAVIS COUNTY 911 EMERGENCY RESPONSE SYSTEM

HOW TO MAKE THE SYSTEM WORK MOST EFFICIENTLY FOR YOUR COMMUNITY

BY SR. DEPUTY A. MOORE # 1480
TRAVIS COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

THE COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING SERVICES (C.O.P.S.) UNIT HAS CONCERNS ABOUT CITIZENS ATTEMPTING TO USE THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD RESOURCE CENTER (N.R.C.) AS A 911 CALL STATION AND DISPATCH CENTER. IF YOU CALL YOUR N.R.C. AND LEAVE A MESSAGE ON AN ANSWERING MACHINE OR WITH A RECEPTIONIST ABOUT AN EMERGENCY THOSE MESSAGES ARE FREQUENTLY NOT RECEIVED IMMEDIATELY AND YOUR EMERGENCY CALL WOULD NOT BE ANSWERED IN AN EFFICIENT MANNER.

THE MOST FREQUENT QUESTION DEPUTIES ARE ASKED IS “ WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS ARE CONSIDERED EMERGENCIES THAT WARRANT 911 BEING CALLED?” THAT IS A SUBJECTIVE QUESTION. WHAT IS AN EMERGENCY FOR ONE PERSON MAY NOT BE AN EMERGENCY FOR SOMEONE ELSE. WHEN YOU ARE TRYING TO DECIDE IF YOU SHOULD CALL 911 DO NOT ASK YOURSELF WHAT, ASK YOURSELF WHEN.

CALL 911 IF…

THE EVENT IS HAPPENING NOW. TELL THE CALL TAKER IT IS IN PROGRESS. THEN DEPUTIES WILL BE DISPATCHED IMMEDIATELY TO STOP THE FURTHER INJURY TO PERSONS OR DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY.

THE EVENT IS ABOUT TO OCCUR. TELL THE CALL TAKER YOU BELIEVE SOMEONE IS PREPARING TO COMMIT A CRIME. THEN DEPUTIES WILL BE DISPATCHED IMMEDIATELY TO PREVENT INJURY TO A PERSON OR DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY.

THE EVENT HAS JUST OCCURRED. TELL THE CALL TAKER THAT A CRIME HAS JUST HAPPENED AND THE SUSPECTS ARE STILL ON SCENE OR STILL IN THE AREA. THEN DEPUTIES WILL BE DISPATCHED IMMEDIATELY TO ATTEMPT TO APPREHEND THE SUSPECTS TO PREVENT THEIR ESCAPE.

YOU ARE UNSURE WHEN THE CRIME OCCURRED OR IF THE SUSPECTS ARE STILL ON SCENE. THEN DEPUTIES WILL BE DISPATCHED IMMEDIATELY TO CLEAR THE SCENE FOR YOUR SAFETY. PLAY IT SAFE, NOT SORRY. DO NOT ENTER THE SCENE; FIND A SAFE LOCATION TO WAIT, AND LET THE DEPUTIES DO THEIR JOB.

WHEN IN DOUBT CALL 911. THE CALL TAKERS ARE TRAINED TO SCREEN YOUR CALL, THEY WILL ADVISE YOU IF YOU NEED TO HANG UP AND CALL THE NON EMERGENCY LINE. DON’T WORRY THAT YOU HAVE HURT SOMEONE’S FEELINGS BY CALLING THE ‘WRONG’ NUMBER. THERE IS NO ‘WRONG’ NUMBER. BOTH NUMBERS ARE ANSWERED BY THE SAME CALL TAKERS. THEY ARE SIMPLY HAVING YOU SWITCH PHONE LINES, BECAUSE THE NON EMERGENCY LINE CAN BE PLACED ON HOLD; IN CASE A 911 CALL COMES IN. THE CALL TAKERS ARE SIMPLY PRIORITIZING CALLS, SO THAT 911 LINES DO NOT GIVE A BUSY SIGNAL.
 

CALL THE NON EMERGENCY LINE (854-9285) IF…

THE EVENT HAS ALREADY OCCURRED AND A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF TIME HAS ELAPSED SINCE THE EVENT OCCURRED. THE SUSPECTS ARE LONG GONE AND NOT SUSPECTED TO RETURN. BASICALLY ANY TIME THE SCENE IS STABLE AND YOU ARE CONFIDENT THAT NO ONE IS IN IMMINENT DANGER. THESE CALLS ARE TAGGED BY THE CALL TAKERS AS PRIOR CALLS AND ARE PRIORITIZED TO BE TAKEN AFTER IN PROGRESS CALLS ARE CLEARED, AND IN THE ORDER THE PRIOR CALL WAS RECEIVED.

… YOU NEED TO GIVE / RECEIVE ANY OTHER GENERAL TYPE OF INFORMATION TO / FROM THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE, OR YOU NEED / HAVE SPECIFIC INFORMATION ABOUT AN EVENT BUT DON’T KNOW WHOM TO CONTACT.

CITIZENS ARE SOMETIMES AFRAID TO REPORT AN EVENT BECAUSE THEY FEEL THAT THE DEPUTIES ARE TOO BUSY WITH IN PROGRESS CALLS AND THEY DON’T WANT TO INTERRUPT THEIR RESPONSES. PLEASE CALL, REMEMBER THE CALL TAKERS WILL PRIORITIZE YOUR CALL. THE CALLS ARE NOT SIMPLY DISPATCHED IN A FIRST COME FIRST SERVED BASIS. BESIDES, IF A DEPUTY HAS RESPONDED TO A PRIOR CALL AND AN IN PROGRESS CALL OCCURS, THEY WILL SIMPLY PREEMPT THE PRIOR CALL AND PUT IT BACK AT THE TOP OF THE LIST. THE DEPUTIES ARE OUT THERE RANDOMLY RESPONDING TO CALLS SO DON’T FEEL THAT YOU HAVE TAKEN THEM FURTHER AWAY FROM AN IN PROGRESS CALL, BECAUSE WHO KNOWS WHERE THEY WILL OCCUR.

CITIZENS FREQUENTLY DON’T REPORT EVENTS BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT INTERESTED IN PURSUING CHARGES. REMEMBER YOU CAN MAKE A REPORT AND NOT FILE CHARGES; IT’S UP TO YOU. PLEASE ALWAYS REPORT INCIDENTS, THOUGH, YOU MAY HAVE INFORMATION THAT CAN HELP A NEIGHBORS CRIMINAL CASE. KEEP IN MIND IF YOU DO NOT TELL US THERE IS A PROBLEM, THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE CAN NOT HELP PREVENT CRIMES IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. SO PLEASE LET US KNOW OF ANY SUSPICIOUS EVENTS.

NEIGHBORHOODS WITH AN N.R.C. MUST KEEP IN MIND THAT THE DEPUTIES (AKA C.O.P.S. OFFICERS) STATIONED THERE ARE NOT THE NEIGHBORHOOD’S PRIVATE POLICE FORCE. THOSE DEPUTIES ARE ASSIGNED TO LARGE DISTRICTS WITH SEVERAL NEIGHBORHOODS AS THEIR RESPONSIBILITY. THE NEIGHBORHOOD WITH THE N.R.C. IS JUST ONE OF MANY. BASED ON A NEIGHBORHOOD’S SPECIFIC CRIME PROBLEM(S) (THAT HAVE BEEN REPORTED TO THE 911 CALL CENTER) THE C.O.P.S. OFFICER(S) ASSIGNED TO YOUR N.R.C. DESIGN CRIME PREVENTION PLANS TAILORED TO THAT SPECIFIC COMMUNITY.

CITIZENS FREQUENTLY ASK, “WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE DISTRICT PATROL DEPUTY AND THE COMMUNITY SERVICES DEPUTY?” BASICALLY, THE DISTRICT PATROL DEPUTIES ARE THE FIRST RESPONDERS, WHO GO FROM CALL, TO CALL, TO CALL, INITIATING REPORTS. WHEREAS THE C.O.P.S. OFFICER IS THERE FOR THE LONG HAUL TO ADDRESS LONG TERM PROBLEMS, OR EVENTS THAT ARE GOING TO BE MORE TIME CONSUMING THAN THE PATROL DEPUTIES HAVE TIME TO ADDRESS.
THE C.O.P.S OFFICER IS SORT OF A “JACK OF ALL TRADES”, AND IS USUALLY OUT OF THE OFFICE WORKING ONE OF MANY PROJECTS, SUCH AS D.A.R.E, EXPLORERS, DRUG AND ALCOHOL STINGS, NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH, NEIGHBOR TO NEIGHBOR MEDIATIONS, LITTER ABATEMENT, INSURANCE SURVEYS, ASSISTING PATROL, NATIONAL NIGHT OUT, BROWN SANTA, COPS FOR KIDS SAKE/BIG BROTHERS AND BIG SISTERS, ETC.

YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD C.O.P.S. OFFICER IS ALSO STARTING A NEW PROJECT FOR 2001. WE WILL BE PROVIDING POLICE BLOTTER INFORMATION TO THE PUBLISHERS OF YOUR LOCAL NEWSPAPER, SO YOU CAN BE INFORMED OF THE CRIMES IN YOUR AREA. THIS INFORMATION WILL HELP YOU TO KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR SO YOU CAN REPORT SUSPICIOUS EVENTS, AND IN RETURN STOP CRIME BEFORE IT OCCURS.



From: Sr. Deputy Amber Moore
To: Internet Mail::[LONNIE@patbrown.com]

Subject: TC SHERIFF - HOW TO MAKE 911 WORK FOR YOU
Date: 7/24/01 10:01 PM

LONNIE,

I'VE ALREADY TOUCHED BASE WITH YOU ON THIS TOPIC, BUT I WANTED TO GIVE YOU
THIS INFORMATION TO SHARE WITH THE V.N.A., AND TO POSSIBLY POST ON YOUR WEB
SITE.

SHARING INFORMATION WITH TCSO IS STILL AS EASY AS I ADVISED AT THE V.N.A.
MEETING. JUST LET THE CALL TAKERS GUIDE THE CALLER THROUGH THE PROCESS. THE
CALLERS NEED TO TRY AND BE CALM, CLEAR, AND CONCISE. THE CALLERS NEED TO GIVE
THE READERS DIGEST VERSION OF EVENTS. THIS WAY THE CALL TAKERS CAN QUICKLY
PASS THE INFORMATION TO THE DISPATCHER, WHO IN RETURN FORWARDS THE CALL TO A
DEPUTY. WHEN THE DEPUTY GETS ON SCENE THEN THEY CAN BE MORE SPECIFIC ABOUT
THE INCIDENT.

IT IS THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE STANDARD PROCEEDER TO SEND A DEPUTY TO MEET WITH A
COMPLAINANT TO TAKE ANY KIND OF REPORT. THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE WILL ON OCCASION
TAKE A REPORT OVER THE PHONE, BUT A DEPUTY HAS TO BE AVAILABLE AT THE
COMMUNICATIONS (DISPATCH) CENTER, (DEPUTIES ARE USUALLY NOT ASSIGNED TO THE
COMM. CENTER), AND THE CALLER AGREES TO MAKE THE REPORT ON THE PHONE AND NOT
IN PERSON.

FAMILIES WHO HAVE MOVED FROM THE CITY INTO THE UNINCORPORATED AREAS OF THE
COUNTY MAY NOT BE USE TO HAVING AN OFFICER ACTUALLY VISIT THEM TO MAKE THE
REPORT. THE AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT FREQUENTLY TAKES REPORTS OVER THE PHONE
USING CIVILIAN DATA ENTRY PERSONNEL. THUS, A COMPLAINANT NEVER SEES OR SPEAKS
TO A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER. SO, IF YOU ASK TO MAKE A "PHONE REPORT" DON'T
BE UPSET IF THAT IS NOT AVAILABLE, AND YOU HAVE TO WAIT FOR A DEPUTY TO BE
DISPATCHED. MOST PEOPLE PREFER THIS METHOD AND ARE ACTUALLY DISAPPOINTED WHEN
THEY MOVE INTO THE CITY AND CAN'T GET AN OFFICER TO TAKE THE REPORT IN PERSON.

HOW A CALL USUALLY WORKS:
1. A CITIZEN CALLS 911 OR THE NON EMERGENCY LINE (854-9285)
2. A CALL TAKER ASKS WHAT THE EMERGENCY IS.
3. THE CITIZEN BRIEFLY DESCRIBES THE INCIDENT (JUST THE MOST IMPORTANT PARTS,
SAVE THE DETAIL FOR LATER).
4. THE CALL TAKER SIMULTANEOUSLY CREATES A "CARD" IN THE C.A.D. (COMPUTER
ADDED DISPATCH) TERMINAL. BASED ON THE CALLERS INFORMATION THE CALL IS
PRIORITIZED DEPENDING ON THE NATURE OF THE CALL, AND IF IT IS IN PROGRESS OR
PRIOR.
5. DEPENDING ON THE CALL THE CALL TAKER MAY HANG UP OR STAY ON THE LINE.
6. THE "CARD" IS FORWARDED TO A RADIO DISPATCHER'S C.A.D. TERMINAL.
7. THE DISPATCHER THEN DISPATCHES THE CALL TO THE DEPUTY. (DEPENDING ON HOW
THE CALL WAS PRIORITIZED DENOTES WHEN THE DEPUTY GETS THE CALL. THE CALLS ARE
NOT DISPATCHED FIRST COME FIRST SERVED. ALTHOUGH THEY TRY TO CLEAR THE OLDEST
CALLS FIRST, ANY "CARD" CAN BE PREEMPTED BY A MORE SERIOUS CALL).
8. A DEPUTY MEETS THE COMPLAINANT FACE TO FACE AND TAKES A REPORT (THIS IS
WHEN THE CALLER GIVES MORE DETAILS). THAT REPORT IS SENT TO DATA ENTRY, AND
THEN FORWARDED TO THE APPROPRIATE INVESTIGATING UNIT.

I'M ALSO SENDING AN ATTACHMENT THAT DESCRIBES HOW A CALLER CAN DETERMINE IF
THEY NEED TO CALL 911 OR THE NON EMERGENCY LINE (854-9285).

THANKS,
DEPUTY AMBER MOORE