Winston-Salem Police Department Communications Division

Emergency Calls FAQs

What is 9-1-1?

9-1-1 is the emergency telephone number system in Winston-Salem which links callers to the appropriate emergency service - Police, Fire, or Emergency Medical Service /Ambulance. Calling 9-1-1 helps ensure you reach the emergency service you require as quickly as possible.

Police Communications OperatorWhat is an Emergency?

A situation where the safety of people or property is at risk. Examples of 9-1-1 emergencies include: a fire; crime in progress; or a medical crisis.

What is NOT an Emergency?

It is not an emergency when the situation is not dangerous and immediate action is not necessary. If the emergency is not life threatening, please call our non-emergency contact number at (336) 773-7700.

What Happens when you Call 9-1-1?

When you dial 9-1-1 your call is answered by professionally trained Telecommunicators. The 9-1-1 telephone system has an Automatic Location Identification System and an Automatic Number Identification System (ANI/ALI) which lets the call taker know the address and telephone number of the caller. If the caller is unable to speak, police will be dispatched to the location.

If you call from a cellular phone, ANI/ALI information may be available to the Telecommunicator if the cellular phone is Phase II compliant.  Wireless Phase II requires carriers to provide far more precise location information - within 50 to 300 meters (approximately 170 to 1000 feet).  The cell phone vendors have different methods in which the cellular phone handset can provide the latitude and longitude for the caller, either through triangulation, GPS, or a hybrid of the two.

Try to remain calm and give your exact location or give the closest location or landmark you recognize.

The caller must be prepared to give the following information: 

  • Which service is required - Fire, Police or Ambulance. 
  • Where the emergency has occurred - the full address.  


How to Use 9-1-1 

At home dial 9-1-1

  • do not pre-program 9-1-1 into your

    Police Communications Operator

    telephone, this can cause dialing problems if the battery is low on cordless phones or the button is hit accidently.
  • at a business or other locations you may need to dial an outside line before dialing 9-1-1.
  • at a pay phone dial 9-1-1; a coin is not necessary.
  • when using a cellular phone, you must specify that you are using such and be prepared to give your location, including the city or town.

Non-Emergency Calls

For non-emergency contact, please call us at (336) 773-7700 or visit TELCOM.  

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