County Plans Improvements In Call System

In response to concerns that non-emergency police calls were not being answered , a top county official told PHCA members that improvementswere in the works.

Charlynn Flaherty, Associate Director for Public Safety Communications, the featured speaker at the PHCA fall quarterly meeting on Sept. 20, explained that the county emergency call center handles all 911 calls, including police, medical, and fire emergencies. The office also handles burglar alarm calls. An average of 13 people on duty at all times handle a total of 1.6 million calls per year, she said.

Non-emergency callers should use 301-352-1200 or call Police District IV directly at 301-749-4901, Flaherty said. Outgoing PHCA President John Schnizlein said he had called the police non-emergency number to report an illegal trash dumper on Piscataway Drive but got no response. Flaherty replied that the average wait for a non-emergency call is 7-10 minutes, but that improvements were being planned by a new Public Safety Technology Working Group. Ideas under discussion include the use of social media, public safety databases, and a 311 public service line.