Communications

Overview
The Department's communication center serves as the central point of contact for citizens and officers and operates 24 hours a day. Telecommunicators (dispatchers) handle all incoming calls to the Department's non-emergency phone line. They also work in conjunction with their partners at the Dane County Public Safety Communications Center to handle 911 calls.  In addition to handling incoming phone calls, telelcommunicators also track the activities of all employees working in the field via radio and computer.  

Calling the Department
When calling the Department please keep in mind that the dispatcher you are talking to may be handling several other phone calls and/or dispatching officers to calls. Dispatchers are trained to prioritize calls and to get necessary resources to calls for service as quickly as possible. You may be placed on hold while the dispatcher handles other calls.  We appreciate your patience.

When Should I Call 911?
You should call 911 anytime there is a life and death emergency that requires the immediate response of police, fire or paramedics.

You should also call 911 anytime you need emergency medical assistance.

911 Misdials 
If you place a call to 911 accidentally please stay on the line and answer all of the telecommunicator's questions. A significant amount of public safety resources are committed to handling unintentional 911 calls. Telecommunicators and first responders must treat every 911 call as if it is an actual emergency until it can be verified that it was accident.

Contrary to popular belief you will not get in trouble for accidentally calling 911. Please stay on the line and let the telecommunicator know it was a mistake. Typically a police officer will respond to your location to ensure that there is no emergency.

Pocket Dials
Many accidental calls to 911 come from cell phones that are programmed with shortcuts to call 911. The Dane County Communications Center receives numerous 911 calls a day that are placed while the caller's phone is in their pocket. Please familiarize yourself with the screen lock features of your phone in addition to the emergency call functions. 

Please also remember even old cell phones that no longer have regular phone service can still call 911. Children playing with phones account for a large majority of 911 unintentional calls. Please keep your phones away from children and/or make sure that the battery is removed or that the phone is set in such a manner to prevent outgoing calls.

Report a Concern
You can always contact the Department to report a concern or issue but you may also utilize the Report a Concern feature of the website here to let us know about certain types of issues.