Examples of calls that are appropriate for a non-emergency operator include reporting:
• A residential, business or vehicle break-in that occurred on an earlier day
• The return of a runaway child
• Identification of additional lost or stolen property after an initial report has been made
• Lost property
• A hit and run traffic collision when no longer at the scene of the accident
“Over time, the message for residents has been to call 911 any time a response is needed, even if it wasn’t an actual emergency. While good intentioned, that approach actually stopped people from calling 911 when they didn’t believe their situation was an actual emergency,” Thomas said. “By promoting use of the non-emergency number, we’re hoping residents will feel more comfortable calling for assistance.”
Both 911 and the 253-852-2121 numbers will ring into the Valley Communications Center. If an emergency is detected from a non-emergency call, it will be routed to the correct operator for immediate response.
Located in Kent, and known as Valley Com, the Center answers emergency 9-1-1 calls and dispatches police officers, firefighters and paramedics to people in eight different cities. “With multiple jurisdictions using Valley Com, we anticipate by sharing consistent information, we’ll minimize confusion about what constitutes a non-emergency call,” Thomas said.
Examples of when to call 911 include:
• Serious medical emergencies
• Any crime in progress
• Any type of fire
• Any dangerous or life-threatening situation
• Any suspicious activity
• Any time a person fears for their safety of the safety of others
Any person unsure if their situation is an emergency is encouraged to call 911.
The other cities that use the Valley Communications Center are also deploying non-emergency numbers. They include:
Black Diamond, 360-886-0022
Des Moines, 206-878-2121
Federal Way, 253-835-2121
Kent residents have the option of filing many types of police reports online at KentWA.gov/police.