Dialing 911

Dial 9-1-1 Only for an Emergency

An emergency is:

  • Any serious medical problem (chest pain, seizure, bleeding, etc.)
  • Any type of fire (building, car, brush)
  • Any life-threatening situation (fights, a person with weapons, etc.)
  • Any crime in progress (whether or not a life is threatened)

When You Dial 9-1-1, Be Prepared to Answer the Following Questions

  • WHAT happened?
  • WHERE is the exact location of the emergency?
  • WHAT is the current condition of the victim?


  • Someone breaking into your home or a neighbor's home
  • Shootings
  • Fires
  • Injury-producing traffic crashes
  • A person screaming
  • A child choking
  • Fights or displays of weapons


  • Try to stay calm and speak slowly.
  • Briefly describe the type of incident you are reporting.
  • Answer any questions, including confirmation of your name, address and telephone number. Call-takers have been trained to ask questions that will prioritize the incident, locate it and dispatch an appropriate response. Your answers should be brief and responsive.
  • If you are not in a position to give full answers to the call-taker (the suspect is nearby), stay on the phone and the call-taker will ask you questions that may be answered "yes" or "no."
  • Do not hang up until the call-taker tells you to. In some cases, the call-taker will stay on the line with you while the emergency units are responding to ask additional questions or to continuously update information.


Use the administrative line (334-241-2651) to report non-emergency incidents such as crimes not in progress (property thefts or vandalism, for example). You also should use the non-emergency telephone number for cars blocking the street or driveway, non-injury motor vehicle crashes not blocking the street, or other events not requiring an emergency response.


  • A non-emergency call is simply a request for police service that does not involve a life-or-death situation. This may include:
  • An abandoned vehicle
  • A vehicle crash in a parking lot
  • Loud party
  • Barking dog
  • Vandalism
  • Late reported calls


If you dial 9-1-1 in error, DO NOT hang up the telephone. Instead, stay on the phone and explain to the dispatcher that you dialed by mistake and that you do not have an emergency. If you hang up, police officers must be dispatched to the caller's address. This will needlessly take resources away from genuine emergencies.