Telecommunications - Dispatch Center
A vital part of all emergency services is 9-1-1 communications. It is a demanding, yet rewarding, career.
Our Mission: To enhance the quality of life in the City of Aurora, we will serve, support, and respond with care by following the core values of excellent teamwork, high-quality customer service, integrity, dedication, and professionalism.
The Aurora Police Department provides 9-1-1 and emergency communications for:
- City of Aurora Police Department
- City of Aurora Fire Department
- Village of North Aurora Police Department
The Telecommunications Division:
- Provides emergency services for a population of over 220,000 people.
- Handled over 193,000 incidents for police services in 2016 .
- Dispatched over 18,000 calls for fire and ems services in 2016.
- Handled over 283,000 phone calls in the 9-1-1 center. Of those, over 98,000 were 9-1-1 calls.
Cellular calls now make up over 85% of the calls taken in the 9-1-1 center.
Aurora 9-1-1 operates out of police headquarters, where there are 12 communications consoles, for current use and future expansion. Equipment includes a 9-1-1 phone system, CAD and a digital radio system.
There were over 27 million radio transmissions from police, fire, and dispatchers in 2016.
Information about calling 9-1-1 from a cellular phone:
WHEN CALLING 9-1-1 ON A CELLULAR PHONE, PLEASE BE READY TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS TO GET HELP QUICKLY:
Where is the emergency? Use street or highway name, direction of travel, mile marker, intersection, landmarks, etc.
What number are you calling from? Always give your area code and wireless phone number.
What exactly has happened? Clearly describe what has taken place.
What is on fire?
Is the person conscious and breathing? Is the person visibly injured?
Type and number of vehicles involved?
If reporting a crime, vehicle and suspect descriptions are very important.
IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO KNOW
Phones without a service contract, by law, still can dial 9-1-1
If you are using a phone without a service contract and the call is disconnected, you must redial 9-1-1 as the 9-1-1 Telecommunicator will be unable to call you back
Never give your old phones to children for play unless the battery is completely dead, or has been pulled. Remember, these phones can still call 9-1-1!
With or without a service contract ,call 9-1-1 only if an immediate response by Police, Fire-Rescue or EMS is required
INFORMATION ABOUT TEXTING TO 9-1-1
Very seldom is an announcement made that introduces new technology to a community that Is followed with a plea not to use it unless absolutely necessary. But that is exactly what is occurring with text to 9-1-1 service that is available in Aurora.
Texting emergency calls to 9-1-1 should only be used when making a voice call is not possible due to a speech or hearing impairment or if the caller’s physical safety would be in jeopardy if they made a traditional 9-1-1 call. The limitations of texting to 9-1-1 make using it a last resort. As with all text messages, text to 9-1-1 communications can take longer to receive, can get out of order, or worse yet, may never be received.
In situations where someone is hearing impaired or has a medical emergency that renders them unable to speak--- or in instances that include home invasions, abductions, or similar crimes where the victim’s safety would be put in peril if they tried to make a voice to 9-1-1 call--- the service can be a lifesaver. The best rule to remember is “call if you can, text if you can’t.”
If someone finds themselves in a situation where they must summon emergency help by texting, Aurora 9-1-1 is offering these important tips:
- Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” field;
- The first message should be brief and include the location of the emergency and type of help needed
- Push the “Send” button;
- Be prepared to answer follow-up questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 Telecommunicator;
- Text in simple words and do not use abbreviations;
- Do not include file attachments such as still photos or video and audio clips;
- And keep text messages brief and concise.
Officials stress that communicating with 9-1-1 by phone is always the most efficient because it is instantaneous which is critical during a life-threatening emergency. Communicating by text in emergency situations takes longer because the text must be typed, sent through the wireless system, and then read by the 9-1-1 Telecommunicator who then texts back. They add that pictures or video cannot be added to a text to 9-1-1 message and that doing so will likely cause the entire message to not be delivered.
Other parameters users should keep in mind before placing a text to 9-1-1 include:
- Text to 9-1-1 is being introduced on a community-by-community basis. Just because it is available in Aurora does not mean it is functional in surrounding locations. If text to 9-1-1-service is not available the user will receive a message saying so and that 9-1-1 must be contacted by other means. Those working in or traveling through other cities and towns should verify if those locations have the capability to send and receive 9-1-1 texts.
- Users must be in range of cell towers in the Aurora area. Those outside or near the City’s fringes may not reach the Aurora 9-1-1 Center. The service is not available to users who are roaming.A text or data plan is required to place a text to 9-1-1.
- Texts sent to 9-1-1 have the same 160 character limit as other messages.
- Text to 9-1-1 cannot include more than one person. Do not send emergency texts to anyone except 9-1-1.
- Texting to 9-1-1 should be for emergencies only – those that pose an immediate threat to life or property. Non-emergency issues must be addressed by calling the Aurora Police non-emergency line: 630-256-5000.
- DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE.
Watch That Watch! (Important info about the Apple Watch)
While Aurora 9-1-1 has not experienced a drastic increase in false calls, other 9-1-1 Center’s around the country are experiencing false calls that are the result of an Apple Watch feature called “SOS” which many owners are not even aware of!
The SOS feature can be used to connect to 9-1-1 in an emergency by holding down the power button on the watch for three seconds, which is also how to power off the watch. A pop up will appear on the watch with swiping options of Power Off, Medical ID and Emergency SOS. Because the option lines are so close together, accidental 9-1-1 calls are being made when powering off was the intended action. In addition, by continuing to hold the power button down beyond three seconds the SOS mode begins with an audible alert followed by a countdown. When that countdown ends, the watch automatically calls 9-1-1. If set-up through the iPhone Health app, designated emergency contacts will also receive a text message with your location.
If you are experiencing an emergency, this feature is great! However, if you accidentally call 9-1-1, be it from a watch or any other device, please don’t hang up! Simply stay on the line and tell the Telecommunicator you accidentally dialed 9-1-1.
The SOS feature can be disabled by opening the Apple Watch tab on your iPhone, selecting My Watch – General – Emergency SOS – then turning off the Hold to Auto Call feature.
More information can be obtained on the SOS feature through Apple Support, https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206983
If you are interested in finding out about a career in emergency service dispatching, please click the below links: