The Brentwood PD urges our residents to use 911 to report suspicious incidents and criminal activity occurring in the town. Please do not use the Brentwood Police Office Line or use social media to talk about incidents that have occurred or are occurring. Our office is not staffed 24 hours a day 7 days a week and we are not capable of dispatching calls. For us to give you the best possible service there must be a call placed to dispatch by dialing 911. This call to dispatch is what creates an official record of your call, and gets an officer to your home as quickly as possible to assist you. Our office phone lines are used for doing business only. We cannot take calls for service at this number. Using 911 it is the best and fastest way to get a response to your emergency. All calls for non-emergency service can be placed to 301-352-1200.
When you call please try to patiently answer all the questions the dispatch officer asks you. We understand that it can be difficult to be patient when you're terrified or angry, but if you can remain as calm as possible and answer questions clearly, things can go much faster. When seconds count, you don't want to waste any time repeating yourself, or screaming while the dispatch officer tries to calm you down.
It may seem that the person taking your information is wasting time asking silly questions, but what you don't know is that units may already be en route to your location. Providing the additional information to the dispatch officer is crucial because it allows officers responding to have the full scope of what is occurring and get additional help/equipment if necessary. It also saves the officers time at the scene allowing them to spring into action sooner. It may seem that we ask questions that are irrelevant or obvious, but there is a set pattern of questions that have been proven to be important. Common questions may include where is the responsible party, or his/her direction of travel and how long ago he/she left; clothing descriptions of the responsible party, what weapons were involved, descriptions of vehicles involved, etc. The dispatcher may also ask you for a clothing description of you or other victims or innocent bystanders at the scene. This is so that the officers know in advance that you are the victim and not the responsible party.
Other crucial information includes the location of the incident and your phone number. Even though we frequently have your address relayed to us over our Enhanced 911 screens, we always verify with you to ensure that the location is correct. Computers are not always correct, and the location of the incident may be behind your house, at a neighbor's house, or in a field without an exact address. We need to know that in order to send the units directly to the correct location. Your phone number is also verified so that if necessary, we can call you back for more information.
If you call 911 by mistake, don't just hang up, tell the dispatcher that you misdialed. All 911 hang-ups are called back, and if we cannot make contact with you again an officer will be dispatched to the location showing in the Enhanced 911 screen. We do this because occasionally (for example in hostage situations or domestic violence cases) a victim tries to call for help but is interrupted, and his/her life is in danger and they may drop the phone and/or run and hide. However, do not call and hang up just to get a response because you know we will dispatch to you. Except in the cases just mentioned, you will get faster response if you stay on the phone to relay the pertinent information to us.
So the important things to remember when reporting any incident to 911 are:
- Try not to panic, and if you can't help it then at least try to speak clearly
- Answer the call-taker's questions patiently and completely
- Understand that there is a reason for every question asked
- Never hang up on 911!