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Frequently Asked 911/Dispatch Questions
Interested in some information? Check our FAQ list to see if our website lists the answer. If not, feel free to contact us by phone or email for help.


When should I call 9-1-1?

You should call 9-1-1 to report any incident that requires an emergency response by Police, Fire, or medical personnel. Examples would be: crimes in progress or just occurred, fires or hazardous conditions, accidents with injuries, or persons who are gravely ill, passed out, or have fallen and are injured.

What happens when I call 9-1-1 from my cell phone?

All cellular 9-1-1 calls go to the California Highway Patrol. When necessary, the CHP transfers the call to the appropriate local agency. To avoid this, you can call our direct phone number, 415-453-5330.

When I call 9-1-1, what do I need to tell them?

The dispatcher will ask several questions. It is important that you listen to the dispatcher and follow their directions. STAY ON THE PHONE UNTIL THE DISPATCHER TELLS YOU IT IS OKAY TO HANG UP. They will need to know as much as you can tell about the following:

  • What has occurred or is occurring?
  • Where did it occur or is it occurring?
  • When did it occur or is it occurring now?
  • Were/are there any injuries?
  • Were/are there any weapons involved?
  • Are there any associated vehicles? (License, Color, Make, Year, Body style, Wheel Type)
  • Suspect Description? (Sex, Race, Age, Height, Weight, Hair, Eyes, Glasses, Tattoos, Marks, Scars, Complexion, Hat, Coat, Shirt, Pants, Shoes)
  • If the vehicle and/or suspect has fled, what was the direction of travel?
  • Suspect(s) name (if known)?

What number do I call to report a non-emergency situation like a "noise complaint" or crime that did not just occur?

Most non-emergency situations should be reported by calling the department's business number at 415-453-5330.

For reporting "lost property", "stolen bicycles" (with no suspect information), inquiries about a police report, or to leave a message for an officer, you should call the department's business number at 415-453-5330.

What if I need to contact the Fairfax Police Department and I either don't speak English, or I am hearing or speech impaired?

The Fairfax Police Department is equipped with T.D.D. devices for communicating with the hearing and/or speech impaired via both 9-1-1 and the non-emergency numbers. Language translation service is also available on a limited basis.

When language translation is needed via 9-1-1, your call can be transferred directly to a translator for. The dispatcher will stay on the line and tell the translator what questions to ask, and then listen as the translator obtains the answers and relays that back to the dispatcher.

How can I find out about becoming a Fairfax Police Department Dispatcher?

You can check out the Department's Careers page at: http://www.fairfaxpd.org/html/careers.html. Or you can contact the Fairfax Police Department directly.

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