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• If a person calls 911 for an emergency and calls from their house phone, or commonly called a land line, your home information “should” be displayed in front of the operator. That would include the name of the person whom the phone is registered to, the address, and phone number in which you are dialing from.

• If someone calls 911 from a cell phone, which has an updated GPS (global positioning system) in the phone, the operator can get latitude and longitude coordinates and can pinpoint the caller within 150 feet. The caller’s phone number is also displayed. If the caller has a prepaid phone or a carrier that may not be known or an older phone, it can be difficult to locate a caller. If the phone disconnects, the caller must call back on 911.

• VOIP phones (Voice over Internet Protocol) allows the consumer to make and receive calls to and from traditional phone numbers. VOIP works by placing an adapter between a phone line and internet connection. When you call 911 from a traditional phone line, the call in most cases is sent to a Sheriff’s Office or Police Department that is responsible for helping people in a particular area. The Sheriff’s Office can often identify your location and get the closest emergency personnel to that location and call back your telephone number if a call is disconnected.

Consumers who use VOIP should know that VOIP 911 services work differently.
- VOIP may not connect you to your local Sheriff’s Office or Police Department.
- VOIP 911 may connect the call but may not automatically transmit the caller’s phone number or location.

- VOIP may not work during a power outage or when the internet connection fails.
- VOIP calls may be transferred to a call center out of state who attempts to determine what agency receives the call and then transfers the call. This delay is not the fault of your local Sheriff’s Office or Police Department.

Often this method of a phone service is cheaper to the consumer and most people assume their 911 service will be provided.

911 Operators at the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office are highly trained in CPR, Emergency Medical pre-arrival instructions, and handling emergency calls for other reasons. Callers need to know that they should remain calm and speak at a normal tone so that the 911 Operator can provide the quickest and best solutions for all types of emergency responses.

The 911 Operator will gather the necessary information; often they repeat what the caller is saying so that their partners can start sending deputies and EMS and update them on information. Many times callers can get impatient and wonder why the operator is asking so many questions and not getting help on the way. In most cases there may be two 911 Operators on the phone and the other person is sending the proper response. In an emergency situation it often seems like it is taking forever to get help but in reality response time is short.

Macomb County Sheriff Dispatchers are trained to get as much information as possible to best determine the nature of the problem. The information provided by callers can assist deputies or fire departments with what they will need in order to keep others safe and out of harms way. Dispatchers are also trained to perform many tasks at once; they may be also be dispatching emergency response units while they are talking to you.

Telecommunicators are involved in the initial stages of most reported emergencies and they are there 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year. They are dedicated people who answer incoming calls, coordinate, dispatch, and monitor the status of numerous field units.

Currently, the MCSO has 54 dispatchers. In the year 2014, approximately 400,000 calls came into the dispatch center and were answered by dispatchers.  MCSO dispatches and gives pre arrival instructions for 11 fire departments, 3 EMS companies, 8 townships, 2 cities, 2 villages and 2 Metro Huron beaches, neighboring departments, and much more!

If you accidentally call 911 and hear a 911 Operator answering- please do not hang up. Explain that you dialed a wrong number. A dispatcher may ask you a few questions to determine that there are no problems and you are safe.

If you do hang up on a dispatcher they will attempt to call you back. If there is no answer, it is our policy to send deputies to your location to check on the safety and welfare.

Hearing impaired citizens can also call 911 through the TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf). This devi8ce is interfaced with our 911 centers telephone system and communication is typed from the keyboard to communicate.


The Sheriff’s Dispatch Center has the ability to receive 911 emergency requests though SMS (Short Messaging Services), also known as cellular phone text messages.
The Sheriff’s Dispatch Center can receive the SMS text messages from persons messaging anywhere in Macomb County and using Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint cell-phone service providers.
When a request for emergency services (via text message) is received, dispatchers in COMTEC will be able to see the latitude and longitude from the cell-phone user. However, the technology does not pinpoint the exact location from where the message was sent. The cell-phone number from which the message was sent will display in the Dispatch Center.  
If the emergency exists in one of the communities that are incapable of receiving 911 text messages, the Sheriff’s Dispatchers will maintain the text message session and relay the information to the proper PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) so that emergency services will be provided.
While COMTEC will have the ability to receive the text messages, it is still preferable that callers make the voice calls to our Dispatch Center so that the dispatchers answering the phone can garner additional information about the call and dispatch the proper resources. 
“This communication tool is a perfect solution for the hearing impaired. However, whenever possible, we still want to encourage users to dial ‘911’ in the case of any emergency. Call if you can, text if you can’t”.
                                                            Sheriff Anthony Wickersham

For non English speaking residents our 911 center is also equipped with calling an interpreter 24 hours a day 7 days a week with the aid of AT&T Language Line. This service provides interpreters for more than 140 languages.

911 should be used for all emergencies-some examples would be:
-Smell of smoke or see smoke or flames
-If someone is hurt
-Crimes in progress
-Car accidents (injuries or non injuries)
-Anything suspicious in nature
-Fear of your life or someone else’s

These are just a few examples. When in doubt –call 911!
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