Editor's note: The following is from the Redmond Police Department.
Perhaps one of the most popular questions received by Redmond police, according to spokesman Jim Bove, is, “how do I know when to call 911/police?”
People are embarrassed to ask, and it sounds like an easy answer, yet it’s often difficult to do (although we do have some regulars who don’t hesitate calling). Many people don’t want to call 911/police unless there are dead bodies or blood.
If ever in doubt, "if you ask yourself (or someone else), “Should we call the police?,” then the answer is always YES!"
We’d much rather be called and it be a “false alarm” than to not have been called when we could have prevented something from happening. Also, it’s important to report all crimes as soon as they occur – not hours later or days later, so that we have an accurate picture of when/where crimes occur. If you realize your car or home has been broken into – don’t enter, don’t touch anything; just call 911.
Another popular related question – don’t you all have a non-emergency number? Yes, 425-556-2500. This is the administrative line for general inquiries.
While you can call this number to report non-time sensitive calls, you will end up talking to the same people who answer the 911 line, plus 911 is far easier to remember and we can stay on the line if we need to transfer you to Fire/Medics dispatchers (we can’t on the non-emergency line). If it’s a non-emergency, then tell the dispatcher that—if they are dealing with something more important, they’ll put you on hold to answer the most important call. (Also, piece of advice – don’t tell your life story when calling. If you do, they WILL interrupt you to get the most pertinent information. They aren’t there to take a report, only dispatch an officer. Trust me, they interrupt me and cut me off all the time and I’m not even reporting crimes).
Another popular question – should I call from a landline or a cell phone?
It’s always best to call 911 from a landline because your contact information will automatically pop up in our computer and the call will go directly to your local agency. This is especially important if you are in distress—if you can’t talk for some reason, then pick up the phone, dial 911, and then set the receiver off to the side so the line remains open. As long as your phone is registered to your current address, then we’ll be en route. Cell phone calls are routed based on the cell tower that is used—we (Redmond Police) never get a direct call from a cell phone so it’s important to tell them your location immediately so you can be patched through to the correct agency. Also, we can’t get a specific location of where you are located when calling from a cell phone, only a general radius.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post: When NOT to call 911.