The Communications and Dispatch Center

University Safety Emergency Communications

E-911 Calls for Emergency Services

Calls for emergency services are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by personnel in the UConn Police Department Communications section.

  • 911 Police and Fire Emergencies
  • (860) 486-4800 Police Non-Emergencies
  • (860) 486-4925 Fire Non-Emergencies

When to Call 911 vs. (860) 486-4800 Police Non-Emergencies

What is an Emergency?

An “emergency” is an event that poses immediate, significant threat to life and/or property. The following are examples of an emergency:

  • A heart attack or stroke is an emergency; a skinned finger is not.
  • A person threatening to harm themselves or others is an emergency; a stolen laptop from two days ago is not.
  • A noise from the next dorm room or apartment that sounds like a violent physical encounter is an emergency; a noisy party is not.

Examples of When to Call 911

  • Report a crime in progress.
  • Report a situation which requires a police officer at the scene (e.g. assaults, kidnappings, burglaries, domestic disputes, terrorist threats, robberies, vehicle theft that has just occurred, vehicle or hit and run accidents with known or suspected injuries, gang-related disturbance calls or any disturbance call involving a weapon, etc.).
  • Request for medical assistance.
  • Report a fire. To report a hazardous chemical spill, smoke in your house or building, sparking electrical hazards, or fire/smoke detector or carbon monoxide alarms are sounding.
  • Report suspicious criminal activity (e.g., alarms, shots fired, shouts for help, sounds of breaking glass, unfamiliar person carrying items into dorm room or apartment, an occupied suspicious vehicle).
  • If the situation changes before help arrives, call 911 again and give the Call Taker the updated information.

Examples of Non-Emergency Calls (860) 486-4800

  • Directions.
  • To determine if someone has been arrested.
  • Non-injury traffic accidents.
  • Loud music or loud party complaints.
  • Juvenile complaints of a non-threatening nature, such as skateboarding.
  • Parking Complaints.
  • Abandoned vehicles, unless suspected stolen.

Informational Questions That Might Be Asked

When you call 911 or 311 you will be asked to:

  • Briefly explain the nature of your emergency or complaint.
  • The address of where the incident is occurring.
  • Your name, address and telephone number.

Why Do We Ask Questions in a Particular Order?

The location of occurrence is so we know where to send the help. That might be the first question a Dispatcher or Call Taker will ask you. WHY?  If we get disconnected, or there is a phone problem, the location of the incident is the minimum amount of information needed to send help. Since the address has such great importance, please be sure to give a full description of your location. For example:

  • Provide the building or apartment name and room number or where you are in the building. For example, Rome Hall dining room.
  • Outside, give us a description of where you are within the campus. Be specific (e.g., soccer field, near the front entrance, in the back of the Gampel by the track, etc.)
  • If you are driving to your destination and call about something you saw on the way, provide the closest cross streets where the incident is occurring. For example, Route 195 and North Eagleville Road.

Why Do We Ask for Your Name and Location Next?

Once an officer arrives at the location you originally provide, it is not uncommon for the situation or location to have changed. We will often use your location as a starting point to search for what you reported. If the officer is unable to find anything, they may respond back to your address and talk to you for additional information. But only if you want contact.

Once we have the very basic information we need to send help, the Dispatcher will start asking more questions such as:

  • Who caused the problem when the incident occurred?
  • Why do you think the situation happened?

If the problem you are reporting occurred 5 minutes before you called, the questions we ask will be different then if the situation occurred the night before. If the incident you are calling about just occurred, or 5 to 10 minutes prior, the next set of questions we ask may be about the person you think is responsible for causing the problem or the situation.

How to Describe a Person or Suspect

When we give a suspect description to an officer, we describe that person in a certain manner. We start from the top of their head and work our way down to the toes. For example, we might say something like this:

  • White male adult about 5’ feet 7” tall, blond hair, blue eyes, with a mustache and goatee.

For the clothing description we start from the outside and move in towards the body from the top of the head and moving down to the toes. For example:

  • The subject is wearing a New York Yankees hat, red jacket, blue flannel shirt with a white t-shirt underneath, black belt with silver-type buckle, blue jeans and sneakers.

Information Needed If a Vehicle Was Involved

How would one give information to the Dispatcher or Call Taker if a vehicle was involved? There are certain questions asked, and in a certain order for a vehicle description. The reason we ask these questions in this way is because the officer responding to the call may spot a similar vehicle on the way to your call, the same color or year or the same make or body style. If possible, we would like the license plate too.

So here is a list of questions the Dispatcher or Call Taker may ask about the description of a vehicle:

  • License Plate
  • Color
  • Year
  • Make
  • Body Style
  • Miscellaneous Information (Does it have a ski rack on the roof? Or, is there a huge sticker in the rear window?)