Ocala Police Department 9-1-1 Center
The Communications Center serves the citizens of Ocala as the primary 911 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) and is managed by Sherry Gronlund. The division fields calls requesting response from police, fire and EMS-Emergency Medical Services. All calls requiring the Fire Department or EMS are immediately transferred to the appropriate agency. Calls for police service are handled by our specially trained police call takers and dispatchers. Our call center handles more than 300,000 calls per year. All employees receive a minimum of 232 hours of training and are certified by the Department of Health as a Public Safety Telecommunicator.
The Communications Center is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is located in Ocala at the Ocala Police Department.
Our trained and dedicated staff is certified in Medical and Police Dispatch through the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) and must maintain proficiency throughout their certification cycle. Our 9-1-1 center is also accredited through the IAED and the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA).
We hope you find this guide useful in learning about 9-1-1 and how to use its services.
How it works…
Calls to 9-1-1 are free and can be made using conventional telephone or cellular phone. Most conventional phones provide the 9-1-1 center with an exact location or address of the caller. Cell phones, unlike conventional phones, will not provide an exact address. They provide GPS coordinates which can vary on accuracy of your location based on your distance from a cell tower, interference, etc. So when using a cell phone, it is important to have a good idea of your location in case you need help and the 9-1-1 operator can't pinpoint where you are.
When to call 9-1-1…
Calls to 9-1-1 are for immediate need for police, fire or medical assistance. It should not be called for general questions. However, if in doubt, call 9-1-1.
If you have a general question, you should call 352-369-7070.
What happens when I call 9-1-1?
You should remain calm. The communications technician needs specific information from you and there may be lots of questions asked. Often people don’t understand why we ask so many questions. We do it to gather all pertinent information so we may send the proper help to you. Also, by asking a pre-scripted set of questions, we don’t miss anything. We know that it can be frustrating to answer lots of questions but it is important.Some other tips to follow:
• Always know where you are to provide a good location. (i.e. street, business, main landmarks)
• Never hang up until told to do so by the 9-1-1 operator.
• Don’t let children play with old cell phones – they may still be able to dial 9-1-1, even without service.
• Memorize important details about you and your family in case it is needed.
• Try not be too frightened – remain as calm as you can.
• Never make or allow someone to make false calls. It is a crime.
• Teach even your young children how to use 9-1-1. They need to know their name, address, phone number and ways to reach you.
Can I call 9-1-1 if I am deaf?
OPD Communications Center is equipped with TDD / TTY machines and can communicate with you as long as you have a device at your calling location that can do so. Our communications staff is trained in how to use them and will ask you questions to determine what emergency assistance you may need.
Should I get rid of my landline phone?
Some people have opted to just drop their landline or conventional phone in lieu of a cell phone. This is a personal decision but there is a possible situation that you should be aware of. If you live in an apartment or in a complex where you have many residents around you and you call 9-1-1 from a cell phone, it may be difficult to determine which residence you live in based on cell phone inaccuracy.
What if you can’t speak and can’t give an apartment number? Just something to consider!
Another thing to think about. All of the infrastructure for landline phones are underground. This design is more resilient during severe weather or other disasters. Cell towers are more vulnerable to failure. Also, if you are using a Voice Over IP (VOIP) phone, depending on the carrier, they don’t always register your location either.
Can I text 9-1-1 to the Communications Center for Ocala Police Department?
No. Some jurisdictions throughout the nation are implementing this type of technology.
OPD along with 911 Emergency Services are evaluating this method but at this time you can only make regular calls to 9-1-1.
Is 9-1-1 a free call?
Yes. There is no charge for calling 9-1-1.
Do I have to call someone at the 9-1-1 center to let them know I moved to a new house and have a landline phone?
No, when you set up phone service, the phone company automatically updates that information.
If I don’t have phone service at home but have a landline phone plugged in, can I call 9-1-1?
Maybe! Sometimes it will work and sometimes it will not, depending on how long the service was disconnected and other factors. It is not to be relied upon.
My cell phone is from out of state. If I called 9-1-1, would it ring to my home state?
No. This is a big misconception. Cell phones work by connecting to the closest cell tower to where your phone is located. Calling 9-1-1 in Citrus County routes your call to Citrus County 9-1-1.