The Boston Police i911 Center is the primary Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) within the geographic boundaries of the City of Boston. All landline 911 calls within Boston are sent to the Boston Police PSAP. Cellphone calls are received by the State Police Wireless PSAP and forwarded to the Boston Police PSAP or directly to Boston EMS or Boston Fire.
The Boston Police PSAP is an Enhanced 911 center. Caller location and identity is provided by the enhanced 911 system to allow first responders to provide emergency service in a fast and efficient manner, especially for those callers who can not communicate the location of their emergency.
The Boston Police PSAP is TTY capable for hearing-impaired callers. The center also subscribes to an interpreter service for non-English speakers.
When to call 911
Call 911 to report police, medical or fire emergencies, or in cases requiring a timely police response. Boston Police 911 can also be used to make reports of past crimes. The Boston Police 911 center also provides a service for over-the-phone reporting for some categories of past crime reports.
Calling 911 from your cellphone
911 calls made from a cellphone are routed to the State Police and forwarded to Boston Police, Boston EMS or Boston Fire as appropriate. This transfer process provides full Enhanced 911 capabilities. The processing of wireless 911 calls in this manner in no way reduces the efficiency of 911 response.
Anonymously calling 911
Although the Boston Police have procedures in place to protect the confidentially of callers to 911, some callers may have a desire to place an emergency call anonymously, without the identity and location information provided by the Enhanced 911 system. In these cases, callers can contact the Boston Police PSAP directly, and confidentially, by calling 617-343-4911.
It is important to note that using this number will not provide full Enhanced 911 capabilities and should not be used routinely (i.e. programmed into phones) but only in situations where confidentiality is a critical factor.
To report quality of life issues or to request City services, call the Mayor’s Hotline, manned 24 hours a day, at 617-635-4500.
Other non-emergency police inquiries can be directed to your local police district Captain’s Office, Detectives or Community Service Office.
How 911 Works
Calls received in the 911 Center are first handled by a Call-Taker. Call-takers are not dispatchers. The call-taker is trained to verbally verify the nature of the emergency, the caller’s identity and the location of the emergency with the caller. The nature of the call will determine whether it will be sent to Police, Fire, or EMS dispatchers.
Upon taking an emergency call, the Call-Taker will enter the call into a Computer Aided Dispatch system (CAD). The call is now in the system to be dispatched, but the Call-Taker will continue to ask clarifying questions that will assist in the response. If, in an emergency, you find yourself being asked a series of questions, please do not assume that the questions are delaying a response.
When the Call-Taker enters the emergency into the CAD system, it is routed to a Dispatcher for the appropriate area of the city. The Boston Police have five designated geographic areas, each with a 24-7 dispatcher on a radio channel. The dispatcher’s job is to manage the assignment of response units on the street with the queue of calls that come in for their area. In some cases a caller may be called by a dispatcher to obtain additional information for the responding units.
If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact the Boston Police Operations Commander, Deputy Superintendent Michael Cox at [email protected].