The Redmond Dispatch Center is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year (366 on leap year!). The two primary functions of the dispatch center are:
Answering 911 calls
Dispatchers interview callers to ascertain the nature and location of events that may need medical, fire, and/or police response. They determine the priority of current activity and assign the appropriate resources.
Providing in-depth service for police personnel
Dispatchers assign and track every person's location and activity and maintains contact with them to assure safety. They assist units in the field by checking names, vehicles, articles, weapons, and property through several local, national, and international data systems. They confirm warrants and court orders for RPD and several other agencies.
When Calling 911...
If you need an immediate response from police, fire or medics please dial 9-1-1. For non-police matters, or if you are unsure of who to call for a certain situation, King County provides a list of service numbers by zip code.
1. Stay on the phone.
Even if you dial the number by accident, hanging up the phone could be a signal of distress so we much rather you stay on the line to confirm that there is not an emergency.
Do not hang up the phone once you realize you accidentally dialed 911.
2. Tell us which city you are calling for.
Cell phone calls are directed based on where the cell tower for your provider is located. Simply tell them which city you are calling for and they will forward you immediately. It is best to use a landline-they automatically show us your address, which is helpful if you are in a situation where you aren't able to talk. If that occurs, then dial 911 and leave the phone line open.
Do not begin going into details until you are connected with the correct agency.
3. Be patient.
Because you may hear silence, that does not mean the dispatcher has hung up. They are entering information into the computer, assigning an officer to your emergency, and relaying correct information to that officer. Do not get frustrated if they interrupt you, it is normally with good reason so they can quickly identify the emergency. Once an officer is dispatched and pertinent information is given so the officer can respond, then the dispatcher may go back and ask for details. If your safety is in question, they will stay on the phone with you until an officer arrives.
Do not hang up the phone until the dispatcher instructs you to do so.
4. Observe and report.
When you see people being harmed, a natural reaction is to help. However, you never want to jeopardize your safety. Instead, observe and report, call 911, and allow an officer to respond. While observing rather than helping may seem selfish, you are expediting the time and efficiency for police response.
Do not get involved in a situation which may jeopardize your safety and delay police response.
5. Give specifics.
When describing a vehicle, include as much information as possible: Color, make, model, license plate number, number of doors, and direction of travel. When describing people, include: How many people are involved, race, sex, height, weight, clothing (including if they have multiple layers-many times they will shed a jacket or sweatshirt), hair color, facial hair, eyeglasses, hat, tattoos, piercings, scars, weapons displayed, where the person is, etc. The dispatcher will prompt you with these questions. The more information you provide, the better. In contrast, saying there was a male about 6-0 and medium build doesn't narrow it down much.
Do not give just basic information.
6. Remain calm.
This is often easier said than done depending upon the situation. Anxiety runs high when there is an emergency, but remember that remaining calm and answering questions helps you and others who you are trying to keep safe.
Do not allow anxiety or panic to interfere with you reporting an emergency.