911 Dispatch

Do you know how 911 became 911?  In 1957, the National Fire Chief's Association suggested there be a national emergency phone number for citizens to use to report emergencies.  Ten years later, President Lyndon B. Johnson made it happen.   The suggestion included a single telephone number to be used for emergencies nationwide or at least in major cities where there could be as many as 50 different numbers to reach police and fire. The very first 911 call was made on February 16, 1968 in Haleyville, Alabama. 

It recommended that police departments also have a number citizens can call for regular business, or a non-emergency number.  This was to prevent callers reporting emergency life or death situations from holding while the call-taker helped someone looking for general information.

The first rule of calling 911 is KNOW THE ADDRESS OF THE EMERGENCY.  The second rule of calling 911 is KNOW THE ADDRESS OF THE EMERGENCY.  If you don't know the address, give an intersection, a business name, a reference point.


CALL 911 for:

  • A life threatening situation exists (fights, domestic violence, auto accidents with injuries, etc.)
  • A serious crime is in progress (robbery, burglary, etc.)
  • Any type of fire, smoke, chemical spills
  • Emergency medical assistance
  • You are unsure if it's an emergency


  • Crimes against persons and/or property not in progress (non-injury auto accidents, vandalism, burglary, etc.)
  • Suspicious activity (unknown vehicle in the area, kids out past curfew, etc.)
  • Noise complaints
  • Parking hazards


  • When the power is out
  • To pay a ticket
  • To get a ride
  • As a prank
  • For a water leak

911 Education Page

Quick Links

Mayor's Action Center