This Has Got To Be One Of The Stupidiest Ideas

Thanks to Lindsay for alerting me to the new 911 policy mandating all police calls go to 911 instead of non emergency calls to 311. Now, as I’ve mentioned before I’ve been hit in the head on more than one occasion and I’ve killed many a brain cell through my own behavior, but why on earth would you combine non emergency calls with emergency calls? I’m sure there is a proper answer here, I just can’t imagine it. I mean will they double they amount of operators answering 911 calls now? Also, before when I called 911 I knew my call would be taken with the utmost seriousness but now if we have dozens of people calling 911 because there neighbor is playing the stereo too loud – won’t 911 be cheapened. Do you know what I’m saying? Someone explain the merits to me, please. Anyway, here is the email from the listserv Lindsay found:

POLICE RELATED CALLS MUST BE CALLED INTO 911…311 will now be used for
the Mayors Customer Service Requests

911 – all police related matters – emergency and non emergency, need of
ambulance, fires

311- all other governmental agency requests/city services – cars towed,
streetlights replaced, streets repaired, animal issues, abandoned
vehicles, trees trimmed, trash pick ups, etc..

12 Comment

  • So it seems that now 311 = the 727-1000 ‘city services’ number. And *every* other police/fire call goes to 911.

    I was never a frequent caller of 311, but I did a few times about an unusual car sitting in the alley or something similiar. I can’t see me calling 911 for each of those now.

  • Why get rid of 311? Because it doesn’t work.

  • david hit the nail on the head. 311 was a placebo.

  • My experience with 311 was that 3/4 the time I got a rapid police response, the other 1/4, no response. Never have called 911.

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  • I called 311 last week to make a report of someone trying to break into my car (and causing some damage). It went directly to 911. I said, “oh I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to call 911. This is not an emergency.” I was surprised that the operator said, ” yeah, those calls come here now.” So apparently, the 311 calls are going into 911 and not into the 727-1000 number.

  • I felt like 311 was great way to call for non-emergency issues that the police needed to be made aware of. I have call 311 numerous time for things that would not feel comfortable calling 911 about.

  • routing 311 calls to 911 is not really a big deal IF the operator is smart enough to know how to categorize your call, and where to send it. maybe the change took place because MPD actually sent their operators to some training.

  • I think that there are some merits to this, if their logic is what I’m thinking:

    In the separate 311/911 system, the caller is asked to determine if a crime is in progress or if public safety is at risk, and dial the phone accordingly. Some callers probably make this call easily, but some might always think one way or another. If the call is made incorrectly, it has to be transferred from 311 to 911, or vice versa.

    Combining all the calls into one center moves that decision point to the emergency services operator, not the caller. The caller still gets to describe what is happening, but the operator/dispatcher decides how much priority to give it. I would imagine that the operators have a much better feel for what is an urgent need when compared with your average caller.

    It will allow for more of a continuum, rather than the old “emergency or not” system.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • Matt – good points.

    As I posted on CH News, I think the best results come when you take it upon yourself to GO to the police station and explain the non-urgent problem to an officer. Well, it helps when the police station is on the next block.

  • you don’t think someone in progress of breaking into your car is an emergency? geez.

  • they weren’t trying at the time – they had tried (unwitnessed) and failed

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