Q: Why do the operators ask so many questions when I call 9-1-1 for police assistance?
A: Communications Operators need to get accurate information to allow officers to determine how best to approach the situation. Callers may be asked how long ago the incident happened, to describe the suspect(s), the direction the suspect(s) took and what type of transportation, including vehicle(s). Questions about weapons, drinking, or drug use are for safety of the citizen and officer alike. This information is relayed to the officers while they are in route to the call.
Q: Why, when I call because my husband and I are arguing, am I always asked if anyone has been hit or pushed?
A: This is a standard question on most disturbance type calls to determine if any medical assistance is needed. Because of the repetitive nature of domestic disturbances, which often includes increased levels of violence, it is imperative that an officer respond to check the welfare of the people involved. Our Department is required by current Nevada Law to respond to any reports of domestic violence.
Q: Why wouldn't the police make the convenience store clerk give me my correct change?
A: This would be considered a business dispute, or a civil matter. A police officer would be there to keep the peace, not to take sides in an issue such as this. The primary responsibility of police is to handle crimes. An intent to commit a crime must be present for the action to be considered a crime, which was not in this example.
Q: When I called the police about a drunk driver, the operator asked me to describe the driver, even after I had given the license plate number and the type of car. Why is that?
A: Once an alleged drunk driver can no longer be seen, it is possible for that person to deny he or she was driving the car. If our caller is willing to identify the person who was behind the wheel and driving erratically, then the court case is much stronger in case of an arrest.
Q: Why didn't a police unit respond when my burglar alarm was tripped?
A: The company monitoring your burglar alarm dispatches a guard to your residence. The companies are aware that our police department only broadcasts these alarms, and although an available officer in the area might respond by choice, a unit is not dispatched. Your alarm company should have advised you of this policy.
Q: I was teaching my 3 year old how to dial 9-1-1. Although I had hung up before anyone answered, the next thing I knew, two officers were knocking on my door. How did that happen?
A: When we receive 9-1-1 hang-up calls or open line calls, and we are unable to make contact and determine that there is actually no emergency, we assume an emergency exists and officers are dispatched. These calls are handled quickly and carefully as the officers do not know what to expect when arriving at the address from which the number was dialed. It is important that our citizens understand that 9-1-1 calls are a serious matter. If citizens call 9-1-1, whether programming their phone, incorrectly dialing their phone, or teaching their children, they should stay on the line long enough to advise the call taker that no emergency exists and explain how they reached 9-1-1 in error.
It is also important for "pranksters" who intentionally abuse the 9-1-1 system, and for citizens calling 9-1-1 without an actual emergency, to understand that their actions are tying up a 9-1-1 operator while a true emergency call has to wait to be answered.
Q: Why did I have to remain on hold and listen to a recording when I called 9-1-1?
A: When we receive a high volume of 9-1-1 calls, your call goes to the top of the call queue. Stay on the line and your call will be answered by the next available person. Do not hang up.
Q: If I want to report someone missing, do I need to wait 24 hours?
A: No, there is no waiting period to report someone missing.