When To Call 911 And When To Call Non-Emergency

911 Dispatch Explains The Difference Of Emergency And Non Emergency Calls

Rockford - Rockford emergency officials are speaking out after a call to the 911 dispatch center, warning about a party that might be getting out of hand, led to a shooting which left one dead and others wounded.  They say calls like that should go to their non-emergency dispatch line instead.

Many think that every time they call the police, they should dial 911. That's what Stephanie Denard did to report a large and loud party outside her home, one that would eventually end with a man shot dead and others wounded.

"I made the initial call, granted I'm smart enough to know that this is not going to be good, and that I pay taxes, and that I expected at least one squad car to come out to see about the scene", says Rockford resident Stephanie Denard.

Denard was asked by dispatch to call the non-emergency number instead,

Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten says many people get confused over what number to call.  "We get non-emergency calls that tie up 911 calls for someone that's truly having a medical emergency or fire or they're the victim of a crime ... A lot of people call 911 because it's easier, it's 3 digits versus having 10."

But he says there are only three reasons why someone should dial 911.  "A 911 call is if you're witnessing a crime in progress, if there's a fire, or if there's a medical emergency. Anything other then those three items you should call the non emergency phone call which is 815-966-2900."

And when people use the non-emergency number, Bergsten says they should also know the line will keep ringing until someone answers, so don't hang up.  "So again, if that phone is ringing, there's 911 calls coming in and that takes priority over non emergency phone calls", adds Bergsten.



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