A glimpse into calls handled daily by the 911 Communications Centre

Posted On Tuesday July 20, 2021
Police Communicator

The 911 Communications Centre is staffed 24/7 with highly trained and dedicated people to help you when you need it most. Our police communicators are the first person you speak to when you have an emergency or need a police officer. Here’s an inside look at what they do.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021 from 4 pm to 7 pm

In this three-hour period, staff answered 86 calls for police on the non-emergency number and managed 166 calls to 911, generating 162 calls for police response.

Some of the types of calls received:

  • Assault
  • Shoplifting
  • Wellness check
  • Dangerous driving
  • Drug complaint
  • Suspicious incident
  • Missing person
  • House alarm
  • False 911 call
  • Intoxicated driver
  • Residential break and enter
  • Domestic violence incident
  • Keep the peace
  • Motor vehicle collision 

Highlighted calls

A frantic woman called 911 because she was being followed and didn't know where she was. She hung up before call analyst Anne could get the information needed to send the woman help. Anne, who has worked in the OPS Communications Centre since 1988, dispatched patrol officers, getting the woman’s location using GPS from the cell phone. When Anne called her back, she learned it was someone else’s phone the woman had used to call for help. Anne got officers to the woman’s location and thankfully, she’d been spooked by an animal and not a person.

A 911 caller witnessed a driver hit two parked vehicles. They provided excellent details to call analyst Anne, including that, after hitting one vehicle, the driver staggered out of her car to take a look. As she took off, she struck a second vehicle. Officers searched the area, but the suspected intoxicated driver was not found.

Multiple 911 calls came in about a T-bone collision. The call analysts stayed on the line with each caller to get as much information as possible on the condition of the driver. “We’d rather get many calls from the public, than no calls about an emergency,” said Anne. Police, Fire and Paramedics arrived quickly. Thanks to those first witnesses on scene, the driver was taken care of, and was not severely injured.

A caller walking by a downtown park saw a fight in progress. Three people had surrounded a person on the ground. Call analyst Ayn created a high priority call for patrol officers to respond. While help was on its way, Ayn kept the caller on the line to get as many details as possible about the aggressors and the victim. “It's always important to get this information in case the parties leave before police get there,” said Ayn, who has worked in the OPS Communications Centre since March 2001. “We want to check on the victim even if they are leaving to make sure they are ok.” Officers found the victim and asked Ayn to send paramedics to check for a possible head injury. Because of the good descriptions provided by the caller, one person was arrested.

Also, of note…

Police Communicators Patrick and Jennifer went for a walk along the canal during their break. They saw a woman on an electric scooter, traveling at a high rate of speed, take a spill. The woman was knocked unconscious and bleeding from the head.  Patrick and Jennifer called 911 for medical assistance and used a first aid kit to tend to the woman until paramedics arrived.  “Even on lunch we are dealing with emergencies,” said Jennifer and Patrick, who were glad they were in ‘the right place at the right time’ to help her.

Here are some tips if you call 911 or police:

  • If you see something suspicious or dangerous, call police immediately so a call analyst can assess the situation and decide how to respond.
  • Stay on the line to answer all the call analysts’ questions. They want to get help to you as quickly as possible, and they will be simultaneously updating first responders with information to reach you and be safe.
  • If you call 911 by accident, don’t hang up. Stay on the line so the call analyst can clear the call as a non-emergency. Otherwise, they have to search for you to call you back, which can take precious time away from someone else needing help.