9-1-1 vs. Non-Emergency
Calling the Right Phone Number to Get a Police/Fire Response
The Wilton Manors Police Department promotes several phone numbers to the public as it relates to maintaining quality communications with our residents. Knowing which one to contact may mean the difference between a prompt police response or a call to an incorrect number which can delay our response to an emergency situation. Although every situation can be unique to itself and the decision whether or not to call 9-1-1 or the non-emergency line may not be easily identified, the W.M.P.D. would like to provide you with some general information to assist you with making the right choice.
What is 9-1-1?
In Case of Emergency, Dial 9-1-1 on a phone. All public safety agencies in Broward County provide enhanced 9-1-1 services. Enhanced 9-1-1 delivers the calling telephone number, the location and the name of the person to whom the telephone number is listed. Presently the enhanced 9-1-1 information is only provided if the call is placed from a landline telephone. Some caller information and location services are available from cellphones. Calls are answered in the order received, so do not hang up as upon calling back your call will be last in line.
Text to 9-1-1?
Call if you can, Text only if you can't. If dialing 9-1-1 is not an option during an emergency, a text message from an SMS enabled cell phone can be placed. You cannot send pictures, video, emojis, or group texts. Do not use abbreviations or slang, and messages must be in English. Texting is for emergencies only, and only when placing a voice call is not an option. For more information on how Text-To-911 works, please refer to this explanation of Text-To-911.
When to dial 9-1-1?
9-1-1 is the number to dial for in-progress crimes or when a life and death emergency response is needed from the police or fire/rescue departments.
How do I know if it is an emergency?
Ask yourself if the police or fire/rescue departments are needed right now to protect life or property. If the answer is yes then dial 9-1-1.
9-1-1 Emergency Examples
- Traffic accidents with injuries
- Structure Fires
- Life-threatening illness
- Person choking
- Someone breaking into your home now, or one of your neighbors' homes
- Fights or displays of weapons
When should I NOT call 9-1-1?
A "Non-Emergency" call is simply a request for the service of Law Enforcement, Fire, or EMS personnel that is not a life or death situation. Examples are:
- Barking dog
- Loud party
- "Minor" personal injuries
- Abandoned vehicle
- Delayed burglary or larceny where no culprit is on the scene
- Non-emergency situations should be reported to (954) 764-HELP (4357)
What should I expect when calling 9-1-1?
- A 9-1-1 "Call Taker" will answer your call by identifying themselves and will then ask you to give the phone number from where you are calling. Our computer will quickly verify your correct address for the officer who is responding to your emergency call.
- Even while you are talking, an officer is already on the way. Try to remain calm and answer all of the Call Taker's questions--we understand you may be excited.
- DO NOT HANG UP! CALLERS WHO HANG UP WILL SEE THEIR CALLBACK TO 9-1-1 REVERT TO THE END OF THE LINE AS CALLS ARE ANSWERED IN THE ORDER RECEIVED.
- For officer safety, it is very important that the Call Taker on the phone gets all the necessary information about the emergency and the suspects.
- Give information most needed:
- Specify what kind of emergency; police, fire or medical.
- Location of the emergency?
- What happened?
- When it happened?
- Keep the information factual. Tell the operator what you have seen or heard. Do not exaggerate the situation.
- Is anyone injured?
- Suspect description?
- How many suspects?
- Vehicle description?
- License plate number?
- Direction of travel of suspect?
- Did you see any weapons?
- Your name and telephone number?
Is it a crime to misuse 9-1-1?
Yes. Florida State Statute 365.172 tells us 911 and E911 services must be used solely for emergency communications by the public. Any person who accesses the number 911 for the purpose of making a false alarm or complaint or reporting false information that could result in the emergency response of any public safety agency; any person who knowingly uses or attempts to use such service for a purpose other than obtaining public safety assistance; or any person who knowingly uses or attempts to use such service in an effort to avoid any charge for service, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.
NON-EMERGENCY: 954) 764-HELP (4357)
GENERAL INFORMATION: (954) 390-2150
CODE COMPLIANCE (954) 390-2151