Ask a Deputy: Mobile 911 Calls
A readers asks about calls to 911 that originate from cellular phones.
Do you have a question for the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office? Submit it in the comments below or email email@example.com. Several questions are in the hopper, please keep them coming.
Question, submitted anonymously
I'd like to know if I call 911 from my cell phone, where is the call routed? Is it to the sheriff's department or somewhere else first? When we lived in another state, 911 calls from cell phones were routed three cities over to the highway patrol office, then re-routed to the local department. I can't seem to get a clear answer about this, short of dialing 911 on the cell and asking who answers ... figured that was't the best idea. [Editor's note: Definitely not a good idea.]
So, does the sheriff recommend 911, or programming the main sheriff department number in our phones for the fastest response?
Most cellular 911 calls originating in Loudoun County are routed initially to the fire/rescue side of the Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center. The fire/rescue call-takers make the initial determination as to what type of response is needed. If the call requires a rescue squad or a fire department response information is immediately taken and units are dispatched to the location of the emergency.
If the call only requires a law enforcement response, the 911 call is immediately transferred to the Sheriff's Office side of the Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center or to the Leesburg Police Dispatch Center. This transfer depends on where the call originates from or where the emergency exists.
While most 911 cellular calls are routed to Loudoun County, 911 cellular calls close to jurisdictional boundaries may be routed to another 911 center which would then transfer it to the correct jurisdiction.
All calls to the Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center are answered promptly, however, 911 is always given priority over incoming calls to the non-emergency line. The 911 emergency line should always be used for true life-threatening emergencies and please use our non-emergency number 703-777-1021 for all other concerns or questions.