Dispatch / 911
If this is an emergency, please dial 911
If this is a non-emergency, please dial 209-538-5712 or 209-538-5713.
Top Ten Tips for Calling 911/Dispatch
Tip 1 - Location
When calling the Police Department for emergency or non-emergency crimes, location is our Number 1 concern! We have to know where to go to help you. If there is one piece of information you can give your dispatcher, it would be your location.
Tip 2 - Witness Statement
Your witness statement is important to us. Be prepared to stay on the line, if necessary, to provide responding officers with critical up-to-date information.
Tip 3 - Speaking with Officer
Be prepared to speak to an officer once they go on scene. If that makes you uncomfortable, other arrangements can be made, just advise the dispatcher of your concerns. Alternatively, you can remain anonymous when calling the police.
Tip 4 - Report Crime
Don’t hesitate to report crime. If you’ve ever been the victim of a crime you know how important it is to report it. Our jobs depend on members of the public like you to report crime to us.
Tip 5 - Non-Emergency Numbers
Use 911 only for life threatening emergencies or a crime in progress where time constraint is an issue.
- The Police Department has two non-emergency numbers that ring directly into dispatch for all other incidents:
- Phone: 209-538-5712
- Phone: 209-538-5713
- Additionally, Fire has a non-emergency number also, 209-552-2474.
- If you have a non-emergency Medical Issue, you can call AMR at 209-523-5938.
Tip 6 - Stay Safe
Be mindful of your environment. Although you are a witness to a crime, our priority is your safety. It is easy to forget about your own safety when involved in crime reporting.
Tip 7 - Answer Questions
Be ready to answer a lot of questions. Although this is happening in front of you, we cannot see what you see. Our dispatchers may have to ask questions that may not seem important to you, but they are vital for responding officers and for your own safety.
Tip 8 - Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Dispatchers are very knowledgeable and can provide initial guidance for your situation.
Tip 9 - Remember the five W’s; Who, What, When, Where & Weapons
- Who is involved?
- If you know them, we need name, birth date, and physical descriptors, (sex, race, age, height, weight, hair/eye color, clothing description).
- If you do not know them, then name and birth date will not be asked. If they have a vehicle we will ask for the color, year, make, model, license plate, and any other descriptions such as tinted windows, decals, special rims, etc.
- What exactly is going on?
- When-Is it in progress now, if not, how long ago?
- This helps us determine the priority of the call, as well as we will ask what direction the person was last seen heading when they left, and if there is a vehicle.
- Where is the crime occurring? Where are you currently located?
- We have to have and address or cross street to send the officers.
- Weapons - Are there any weapons involved or seen? If yes, what kind (i.e. gun, knife, bat, stick, etc.
Tip 10 - Talking to Dispatch
In conclusion, there are a few things to keep in mind when calling 911.
- First of all, keep as calm as possible
- Try to listen closely to the dispatcher’s questions.
- Keep your answers brief, and don’t ramble on.
- Try not to repeat information, if possible.
- Don’t ask the dispatcher why they are asking you certain questions. They know what they need and why they need it
- Try to be polite to the dispatcher.
- Try not to be frustrated and make statements like, “Just send the police!” And please don’t just hang up. The dispatcher is very concerned with the safety of the officers who are responding to your emergency and will be very adamant about getting the information they need.
- Try not to take it personally if the dispatcher seems demanding or uncompassionate, remember these may be tactics to get the information they need.
- Focus on talking to the dispatcher. If you try to carry on a conversation with someone else in the room while you’re on the phone, this will only delay police response.
- Try to give the information asked for as accurately and as quickly as you can so you can get the fastest response possible.
About Your Dispatch Center
The Ceres Police Department has their own state-of-the-art Dispatch Center for law enforcement purposes. It is housed on the second floor of the Police Department and is manned by eight full-time dispatchers and one reserve dispatcher. Ceres Fire service and AMR medical response are dispatched through county services.