911 Center: Frequently Asked Questions
When should I call the non-emergency number?
There are a variety of times and circumstances that may impact when a call should go directly to the Missoula City Police Department or the Missoula County Sheriff's Department. If you aren't sure where to call, dial 9-1-1 and together we can make that determination.
Within the City of Missoula
If you are reporting incidents where there is damage to your property, that is not in progress, and the total value is less than $1,000.00 call the Missoula City Police Desk at 552-6300.
Outside the City Limits
Callers needing a Deputy should call 9-1-1. If you want to speak with the Sheriff, Detectives, or the administrative staff, call 258-4810, 8:00 – 5:00 Monday through Friday.
If the Police Desk of Sheriff's Office determine an officer is needed, they will transfer you to the 9-1-1 Center on a non-emergency line.
Why am I transferred to 9-1-1 when I called the non-emergency number?
The 9-1-1 Center receives hundreds of transferred calls each month. Most of the time when you are transferred to the 9-1-1 Center it is to insure that you receive the service you need. Only the 9-1-1 Center can dispatch an officer to your location. If you have called the Missoula City Police Department for example and they have determined than an officer will need to investigate the crime you are reporting, you will be transferred to the 9-1-1 Center, so an officer may be dispatched to your location. When you are transferred to the 9-1-1 Center you will be on a non-emergency line.
Why does 9-1-1 ask so many questions?
We receive hundreds of calls a day from the citizenry of Missoula County. The dispatcher needs to ask questions to make sure we send you the kind of help you need. We teach and train our call-takers to treat each call and caller, with the same level of professionalism whether they are reporting a theft from a motor vehicle or the most serious of medical condition. Ultimately, our goal is your safety and the safety of our responders, to achieve that goal we need to have a clear picture of what is occurring. To accomplish that we start off every call with the basic questions:
- Where is the incident taking place?
- What is the number you are calling from?
- What is going on?
Next, we may ask about weapons, suspects, vehicles and their descriptions, direction of travel, etc.
If it’s a medical call 9-1-1 Dispatchers are trained to ask several questions related to the medical problem, and provide pre-arrival instructions following our Emergency Medical Dispatch Criteria.
Most often, medical help is dispatched within 15-30 seconds after the call is received. We pass on the appropriate information we gather to the responders already en-route. This helps them better prepare for the call at hand.
We appreciate your patience in answering our questions.
Why does a fire truck usually respond with the ambulance?
The goal of Missoula County 9-1-1 and all the responders in the field is to provide you the Highest Quality Care. To accomplish this the Agencies responsible for responding to Medical and Fire Emergencies have strategically placed their stations around Missoula County. The Fire Departments like the Ambulance Services have highly trained medical responders available to assist you. So when a medical call is received by the 9-1-1 Center, the closest fire department and ambulance service respond together insuring the highest level of care for the citizens of Missoula.
Who am I talking to when I call 9-1-1?
You are speaking to one member of the dedicated team of Missoula County 9-1-1. Each newly hired member of that team, goes through an intensive in-house training program, designed to prepare them to help the citizens of Missoula in their time of need. If you would like to know more about the training program or are interested in joining our team contact:
c/o Missoula County 9-1-1
200 West Broadway
Missoula, MT 59802
How many calls does 9-1-1 get in a day?
The Missoula County 9-1-1 Center receives about 170 911 calls, 20 out-of-area 911 calls, 74 non-emergent 911 or transfer calls and 143 administrative calls each day.
When added together with calls initiated by the Missoula City Police Department and Missoula County Sheriff's Office, more than 300 Calls For Service (CFS) are dispatched through the 911 Center each month. A CFS is generated each time a unit in the field responds to assist a citizen.