Speaking with a Dispatcher

What the Dispatcher Will Ask

It is important to know that answering questions posed to you by the dispatcher will not delay the response of emergency personnel. Officers may actually be dispatched while you are still on the telephone. Any information you can provide in response to the dispatchers questions will be relayed to responding officers prior to their arrival. View some of the questions you may be asked by a 9-1-1 dispatcher below.

Your Location

Although the 9-1-1 system displays the address and telephone number of the caller, the location of both the incident and the reporting party still must be verified.

The Nature of the Problem

For all situations, provide the dispatcher with a basic description of the emergency situation. For fire or medical emergencies, calls will be forwarded to the Orange County Fire Authority. If possible, stay on the line to speak directly with their dispatchers.

The Time Element

The time the emergency occurred or a brief timeline of events surrounding the emergency may be important to investigators and emergency personnel. Remember to be as specific as possible.

Suspect Description

Make sure to tell the dispatcher if the person had a weapon and what type of weapon it was if applicable. Other important descriptions that may help authorities include the suspect's:

  • Age
  • Clothing
  • Eyes
  • Gender
  • Hair
  • Height
  • Other physical identifiers, such as tattoos
  • Race
  • Weight

Vehicle Description

As best you can, describe the color, year, make, model, license plate number, and style of vehicle the suspect(s) used. Also, if you witnessed the suspect(s) leaving the scene of the crime, tell the dispatcher what direction they went.

For questions concerning the nature of 9-1-1 calls, contact the Placentia Police Department at (714) 993-8164 for more information.