911 Frequently Asked Questions

This isn’t really an emergency, should I call 911? 

Yes! 911 is not JUST for emergencies; it is the entry point to the modern law enforcement and EMS system. The system is set up to start with 911, and be prioritized to available public safety units. If your call is not an emergency, it will just be prioritized behind the emergency calls. 

I need the UMD Police, will the dispatcher know who to send?

Yes, 911 dispatch for our area is run by the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office and they provide 911 call taking and dispatching services for all public safety agencies throughout the entire county. They are accustomed to determining which agency would have primary jurisdiction based on location of the call. Dispatch can also send an adjacent agency to assist if all University officers are tied up and there is a priority call. 

Doesn’t it make it easier for you if I just call your office?

No, it makes it much more difficult.

When a call for police service is called into the administrative line the process goes as follows: the caller reaches administrative staff and tells them basic information, the staff person puts the caller on hold and calls an officer’s cell phone. Assuming that officer is not on another call, the staff person gives the basic information to the officer and will transfer the call to their cell phone. The officer will then speak with the caller and get more specific information when they are able. (Keep in mind this can be difficult or impossible while driving or when walking in often noisy hallways or sidewalks) The officer then determines their appropriate method of response, notifies dispatch via police radio, dispatch types the call into the CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) system, and dispatches additional units if necessary.

If the call for service is called into 911 the process goes like this: the caller calls 911 and reaches a trained operator. The operator gets the information while typing it directly into the CAD system. When all the information they need is relayed, the information is sent directly the officer’s in car computer, and the officer is notified via police radio.

When broken down it’s plain to see that 911 eliminates numerous steps to expedite the process. It also eliminates multiple middle parties who can cause information to become distorted and makes for a safer response for the officers.

I had items stolen from my car sometime over night; how should I call to file a report?

This is still an appropriate situation in which to call 911. This will create a case number, get the information to the appropriate officer, and help officers prioritize what can be many simultaneous calls for service.

I was in a minor car accident, what should I do?

Make sure everyone is safe, and move the vehicles out of traffic as soon as possible. There is no need to remain in the same position as the accident occurred in until police arrive. There is no mandate for a police report unless there is more than $1000 worth of damage or there are injuries. However, if you do need to file a police report or need the police to respond this is an appropriate time to call 911. The dispatchers will determine the appropriate police agency to respond to your location.

I locked my keys in my car, or I have a dead battery. Can the Police help me with this?

Yes, if you are on campus you can call (218) 726-7000 if it is between the hours of 8:00 am – 4:30 pm. Outside of those hours you may call (218) 727-8770 or 911. (The numbers route to the same dispatch center.)