The Huntington Beach Police Department’s Dispatch Center is an integral and essential part of our communication with the public as well as our response to crimes and incidents in the city. 24 hours a day, they serve over 200,000 citizens and hundreds of thousands of visitors in the city covering over 32 square miles and 9.5 miles of coastline. The Dispatch Center is overseen by Manager Julie Reynolds and staffed by 6 Supervisors, 17 Dispatchers and 6 Part-Time Dispatchers. On an average day, 3-6 Dispatchers staff the Communications Center at any given time with additional staffing as needed during special events and holidays. In 2017, the Huntington Beach Police Department’s dispatchers answered 68,893 911 calls and 214,084 non-emergency phone calls for an average of about 800 calls a day.
Dispatchers are typically the first First Responder any citizen comes into contact with in an emergency. The work done by highly trained public safety professionals impacts every aspect of how calls for service are handled by officers in the field. The expediency and accuracy of the information they obtain from callers can mean the difference between a suspect apprehension or escape, or a victim being located and assisted. The Dispatch Center serves as a lifeline to both citizens on the phone and officers in the field: coordinating resources, making notifications, running checks and getting help when and where they need it. Essentially, they are required to navigate the unseen to bring sense and order to a jumble of facts. Not many have been in a dispatcher’s shoes and truly know what it is to deal simultaneously with both sides of an invisible equation, hearing nothing but voices, reading nothing but text, having no facial or body expressions to go off of, and no situational awareness beyond what’s happening in their headsets. The stress level of our dispatchers can be tremendously overwhelming, as they understand that their smallest mistakes can have deadly consequences.
When To Call The Police Department:
If you are having a life-threatening emergency, please call 911. Medical emergencies, crimes in progress, drunk drivers, or situations requiring an immediate police or medical response are appropriate uses of 911. If you call 911 regarding a non-emergency situation, you may be redirected to call the non-emergency number to free up our limited 911 lines for those having true emergencies.
All 911 calls in Huntington Beach are routed through the HBPD Dispatch Center first. Calls that are strictly medical in nature are transferred to Metro Net Fire Dispatch (www.metronetfire.org), which is responsible for dispatching the Fire Department and/or Paramedics. On all emergency calls, please be prepared to give your address first! As the majority of 911 calls now come from cell phones, it is imperative that an exact address or cross streets are given so that help can be sent to the appropriate location without delay. Calls can often be dropped or interrupted but as long as an address has been provided, help can be sent. Unlike on TV, the 911 system’s ability to trace callers isn’t as accurate or reliable as one would hope and without a confirmed address, officers and paramedics are often unable to locate callers who have disconnected.
For any non-emergency Police Department needs, please call (714) 960-8811. Non-emergency calls would be reports of crimes that have already occurred, illegally parked vehicles, noise disturbances, suspicious activity, or general police questions. You can also reach the Fire Department regarding non-emergency situations and questions by calling (714) 780-0986.
When calling either 911 or the non-emergency number for the police department, be prepared to answer questions!! It is the primary duty of the dispatcher to obtain specific information from callers in order to determine the appropriate response, maintain the safety of the citizens and officers involved, and provide responding officers with essential information in a timely manner. When speaking with the dispatcher, remain calm and answer their questions as clearly and concisely as possible. If you don’t know the answer to a question, simply tell them “I don’t know” – it is better to be clear about what you are actually observing rather than making assumptions or guesses. Stay on the line until you are told to disconnect by the dispatcher.
Typical questions you will be asked:
At this time, Huntington Beach is not set up to receive Text-To-911. All Orange County PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points) are working together to implement and roll out the Text-To-911 as a county to maximize its operability and facilitate transfers between county agencies. It is expected to be ready for use in early 2019.
Certain reports can be made online via the Huntington Beach City website. At this time, you are able to report thefts, non-injury hit & run accidents, lost property, harassing phone calls, vandalism, vehicle burglary, and credit card fraud/identity theft (less than $950 loss) online as long as there is no suspect information or evidence to be collected.
Resources Outside The Police Department:
Although the Police Department is often a great resource for information or advice, often times there are other city or county resources better suited for specific situations.
Animal Issues/Barking Dogs:
® The City of Huntington Beach contracts with Orange County Animal Control to handle all animal related issues. From 8am-5pm, call (714) 935-6848 and from 5pm-8am, please call (714) 259-1122. If there is no answer, please leave a message with your contact information as they are often out handling calls for service in the field.
Barking Dog complaints: http://cms.ocgov.com/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=78050
Community and Family Support:
®211 is a multi-faceted county resource offering support to the homeless, veterans, victims of domestic violence, former inmates and the food insecure. They can assist with securing housing, filing taxes, enrolling in healthcare, and supporting families among other things. They can be reached simply by dialing 2-1-1 or visit their website for more detailed information about what they offer: https://www.211oc.org
®AlertOC is a mass notification system designed to keep Orange County residents informed during emergency situations concerning the health, safety and welfare of the community. When deemed appropriate, phone calls and/or text messages and emails will be sent out to the affected residents with information regarding the emergency. Register on the AlertOC website: https://member.everbridge.net/index/453003085613900#/login
The Communications Division falls under the command of Administrative Services Division Manager Kristin Miller.
City of Huntington Beach
2000 Main Street
Huntington Beach, CA
Request non-emergency police service:
Fax: (714) 536-5605
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