Communications Center Supervisor:
Dispatcher Supervisor Kristen Espinosa
Phone: (419) 691-5053
The Northwood Police Department's Communications Center is the heart of the Northwood Police Department. The Communications Center is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The center is the public answering point for all non-emergency and emergency phone calls and walk-ins.
The Northwood Police Department's Communications Center is staffed with highly trained professionals, which consists of a Dispatcher Supervisor, (4) full-time dispatchers, and a part-time dispatcher. Northwood Police officers are also specially trained to sit the communications center desk, if needed. Dispatchers not only answer non-emergency and emergency phone calls for the police department, they also take calls for the Northwood Fire Department.
The Communications staff uses a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system to dispatch calls for service to police, fire, and EMS units. The integrated CAD system allows dispatchers to determine locations of emergencies and dispatch the appropriate personnel. The center also uses a sophisticated 9-1-1 system that allows dispatchers to view caller information and the location a person is calling from.
Tips for Calling the Northwood Police Department's Communication Center
For all emergency situations: Call 911. The dispatcher will ask you the following:
-What is the location of your emergency?
-What is going on at that location?
-Your Phone Number
For non-emergency situations: Call (419) 691-5053. Calling 911 for a non-emergency situation ties up the 911 system and prevents those who are having an actual emergency from reaching the help they need.
Dialing 911 from a Landline Phone
When you dial 911 from a landline phone, you will be automatically connected to your jurisdiction's 911 center. The dispatcher will be able to see your address on their screen and the phone number you are calling from. Many 911 centers also can see a map of your location.
Dialing 911 from a Cell Phone
Dialing 911 from a cell phone is slightly different than dialing 911 from a landline phone. When you dial 911 from a cell phone, your cell phone sends a signal to the nearest cell tower, which may not be in the city you currently are in. Your call may be answered by a local Sheriff's Department or local State Highway Patrol. When your call is answered, provide the 911 dispatcher with your current location, so that they can route you to the jurisdiction that will help you. If you have to be transferred to another agency, stay on the phone and wait until the answering agency starts talking with you. Most 911 dispatchers will tell the answering agency who they are before completing a transfer (ex: "This is Northwood transferring an EMS run at 123 Main Street, go ahead caller").
What Should I Do If I Accidentally Call 911 and I Don't Have an Emergency?
Many 911 calls are accidentally made due to cell phones being auto programmed or pre-programmed with a one button emergency feature to dial 911, or a child has gotten a hold of a phone and dial 911.
The best thing you can do if 911 is accidentally dialed is STAY ON THE PHONE! DO NOT HANG UP!
It is rare to be able to hang up a phone before it reaches a 911 network. Therefore, if you misdial 911, the call has already been picked up by a dispatch center nearest you. Dispatchers are required to call back a phone number if someone dials 911 and hangs up before speaking with a dispatcher. If a dispatcher is unable to make contact with you after you hang up, they will dispatch a police officer to your location to make sure everything is okay. Even if you misdial 911 and the dispatcher verifies there is no emergency, an officer still may be dispatched to your location.
How Can I Prevent 911 Misdials?
There are several ways you can prevent misdialing 911 or having a child misdialing 911.
1. Disable emergency buttons. Check your cell phone or telephone's user manual to see if your telephone has a pre-programmed button for 911.
2. Lock your keypad. Most wireless phones have a feature that locks or disables a keypad to prevent accidental dialing.
3. Educate your children. Children learn about 911 in school and in public safety sponsored events. When children learn about 911, they may want to practice dialing the number; however, they may use a telephone that can dial to a 911 center. Educate your children on the use of 911 and when it is appropriate to dial it on a telephone.
4. Change your PBX outside number prefix to something other than a "9". Many business telephone systems (PBX systems) use the prefix "9" to dial an outside phone number. If someone presses "9" then tries to dial long distance by pressing a "1" and then presses a "1" again, this automatically dials 911. Contact your system administrator or your telephone service provider and see if you have an option to change your prefix to another number, such as a "7" or "8".