When & Why to Call 911

When to Call 911

911 should only be used for an emergency. An emergency is a life-threatening situation, crime in progress, or a serious crime that has just occurred. These are situations when 911 should be used:

  • Airplane/train crashes
  • Any child medical emergency
  • Any crime where a culprit is still at the scene or has just fled
  • Armed robbery to person, residence or business
  • Assault with a weapon, stabbing or shooting
  • Fire: Structure, vegetation, vehicle
  • In progress burglary to a residence or business
  • Life-threatening medical emergencies; difficulty breathing, chest pains, etc.
  • Missing children
  • Physical altercations
  • Traffic accidents where injuries are known or suspected

Non-Emergency Numbers

When there is a situation that requires police response but is not an emergency, use one of the 7-digit non-emergency telephone numbers listed on our "Who to Call" page.

Coachella Valley Dispatch Center

Why Use 911?

Commit to calling in all suspicious activity without delay. It's better to call in a few mistakes than to have one person on your watch become the victim of a crime. The time it takes to respond to a crime-in-progress is a determining factor in apprehending criminals. A delay in reporting a crime by a couple of minutes greatly reduces law enforcement’s effectiveness.

Responding quickly and accurately is important. A large number of arrests are made as a result of information that was provided by citizens. The apprehension of one criminal may be the key to other crimes already committed and will definitely reduce any future crimes. Others in your community will greatly appreciate your efforts.