When to call 9-1-1

Please use 9-1-1 for emergencies only.  For all other calls use the main police department number: 609-822-2101

And just a reminder, making false 9-1-1 calls is against the law and anyone caught making the 9-1-1 call will be prosecuted (and it would not be the first time someone was prosecuted for a false 9-1-1 call!!) Once you dial 9-1-1 your address and phone number is instantly displayed and the police are dispatched.

In case you are wondering, a false 9-1-1 call is a violation of New Jersey Criminal Law, NJSA 2C:33-3.

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Call 9-1-1 when it is an emergency and a prompt response is needed.  Call 9-1-1 if it is a life-threatening situation or something is occurring at the time of the call.  Fire, medical problem, assault, fight, traffic accident or any situation that could result in loss of life or major property loss should be called in to 9-1-1.

When you call 9-1-1, a call taker will ask what service you need:  fire, police, or medical.  You will be asked questions which the call taker is trained to ask.  Keep your answers as short and direct as possible.  

Questions could include:

  • What happened?
  • What is the location?
  • Where are you calling from?
  • What is your name?

Please do not assume that the call taker has the information on the computer.  All facts need to be verified to ensure that your emergency is handled as quickly as possible.

While you are on the phone with the call taker, he or she can send your call to the dispatcher.  Staying on the line does not interfere with the ability of the call taker to dispatch help and it will not delay the response.

The call taker may need you to stay on the line to help direct the emergency help to the right location or to provide additional assistance that can help ensure your emergency is handled correctly.  If it is possible, do not hang up the phone until the 9-1-1- call taker says it is okay to hang up.

If you call 9-1-1 and reach a recording which states that all lines are busy, stay on the line- your call will be answered as quickly as possible.

If you hang up and re-dial, you will lose your place in line and a call taker will receive a message that someone from your phone called 9-1-1 and then hung up.  The call taker is then required to attempt to call you back; meanwhile if you are calling in to 9-1-1 again, two call takers are now attempting to respond to your call.

The non-emergency number is 822-2101, which you can dial 24 hours a day for non-emergency police help.  Using the non-emergency number keeps 9-1-1 available for true emergencies.  9-1-1 call takers receive non-emergency calls often; most frequently the call is from someone wanting to report a crime which occurred a few hours, or even a few days, ago.

Some examples of times when you should call 822-2101 are:

  • Your house or car was broken into yesterday.
  • Your runaway child has returned home.
  • You need to add additional items to the burglary report which you made last week.
  • Your car was stolen sometime overnight.
  • Your bike was stolen while you were at school.

Your answers to these questions provide needed information to the fire, medical, or police responders.

No, in fact if it is a real emergency, responders can be dispatched while the call taker gathers information from you.

When 9-1-1 callers are put on hold it is not due to a staffing shortage; it can be due to a number of factors including many people calling in about the same problem, people calling 9-1-1 for non-emergency purposes or people calling 9-1-1 for inappropriate reasons.