When to call 911 vs 253-852-2121

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Reporting Emergencies & Less Critical Situations

If there is an Immediate, Life-Threatening Emergency, DIAL 911

  • Medical emergencies
  • Any type of fire
  • A crime in-progress
  • Any suspicious activity
  • Any dangerous and/or life threatening emergency
  • Any time a person fears for their safety or the safety of others

It can be frightening to call 911 for emergency help, but it is important for responders to have the necessary information to provide assistance to those in need.  It is also important for you to stay as calm as possible to assist the 911 dispatcher. Be prepared to provide the address you are at and/or answer all questions to help the dispatcher find your location.

To Report Non-Emergencies, Call 253-852-2121

For situations where police or the fire department is needed but there is NOT an emergency. 

  • Situations where emergency services personnel are needed but there is no danger nor life threatening circumstance occurring at the time
  • The return of a runaway child
  • A hit and run traffic collision where you are no longer at the scene of the collision
  • Lost property
  • Additional information after an initial report has been made

If you are not sure if your situation is an emergency, DIAL 911.

Are you reporting a crime that occurred prior?  If you do not have any suspect information, you can make a case report online by clicking HERE.

To Report an Incident to 911 or 253-852-2121

The operator will need to know the following when taking a report of an incident in progress or one that has happened prior to the call:

  • Address where you are now
  • Type of incident: burglary, shoplift, assault, etc.
  • Where and when the incident occurred or is occurring
  • Your name and job title if on the job
  • Where the person(s) committing the incident are located or where they went if they are now gone
  • Description of suspect(s) (for each person involved):
  • Race (White, Black, Asian, Indian, etc.)
  • Sex (male, female)
  • Age (best guess)
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Hair
  • Eyes
  • Clothes (from top to bottom)
  • Description of suspect(s) car
  • Color
  • Year
  • Make
  • Model

Cell Phones and 911 Calls

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Tell the operator the location of the emergency. Provide landmarks such as cross streets and mileposts
  • Memorize the cell phone number so it can be readily given to the operator when asked
  • Stay connected.  Do not hang up until told to do so.  If you should get disconnected, call the operator back

Accidental 911 Calls on Cell Phones

Eliminate mis-dialing by following these easy steps:

  • Lock your keypad. Refer to your phone's user manual for instructions
  • Turn off the 911 auto-dial feature. Not all cell phones have this feature.
  • Do not program 911 into the speed dial

If you accidentally dial 911, stay on the phone. Before you hang up, tell the operator that your call is a misdial.