9-1-1 Communications Center

Communications Center
The Santa Rosa Police Department 9-1-1 Communications Center answers nearly 230,000 phone calls each year. Of those calls about 67,000 come from 9-1-1. The Communications Center receives requests for a variety of services and focuses mainly on delivering police, fire, and emergency medical aid.

Wireless Calls

In May 2004, we began accepting wireless 9-1-1 calls. In 2017 53,197 wireless 9-1-1 calls were answered by the Communications Center resulting in approximately 78% of our 9-1-1 calls coming from cell phones. Visit the Cell Phone Users page for more information.

Call If You Can, Text If You Can’t

Text 9-1-1As of September 8, 2020, the Santa Rosa Police Department is now offering Text to 9-1-1 services for our residents to report emergencies who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, or who cannot safely call 9-1-1 in a dangerous situation.

Dialing 9-1-1 in an emergency is still the preferred way to request help, and the public is reminded to “Call if you can, text if you can’t.” For most people, sending a text to 9-1-1 will not replace making a call.  Appropriate scenarios for texting 9-1-1 may include: 

  • Deaf, hard of hearing callers, or individuals with a speech disability
  • The caller is unable to speak due to a medical issue or other condition
  • When speaking out loud would put the caller in danger, such as a home invasion, an abduction, a domestic violence incident, or an active-shooter scenario.

Tips on texting 9-1-1 in an emergency:

  • Include clear information about the location (including city) of the emergency with the type of help needed (police, fire, or medical) in the first text message sent to 911. Emergency personnel cannot always determine your location.
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
  • Text messages should be brief, easily understood, and should not contain abbreviations, emojis, or slang.
  • Stay on the line until the dispatcher closes the dialog, if it is safe to do so.
  • You cannot include 9-1-1 in a group text or while roaming.
  • Don’t forget to silence your phone if you don’t want to be heard.
  • Do not text and drive
  • The system cannot receive photos and videos at this time.

Translation Services

The dispatchers have access to translation services which allow them to communicate with callers who do not speak English, or have limited English language ability. The majority of callers who need assistance speak Spanish, but other languages are available as well including: Cambodian, Cantonese, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

TTY Device

To communicate with the hearing or speech impaired, the dispatchers utilize a TTY device; however, most callers prefer California Relay services. For more information visit the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program website.


Dispatchers have access to a variety of information stored in databases and systems:
  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Missing and Unidentified Persons
  • Parole and Probation
  • Property and Firearms
  • Restraining Orders
  • Stolen Vehicles
  • Wanted Persons
Additionally, dispatchers enter stolen and stored vehicles, missing persons, and emergency protective orders into the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS).

Work Environment

The dispatchers work four 10 hour shifts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. To accommodate the ever changing technology, the dispatchers utilize a workstation that has three computer monitors for the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system, one for the radio and telephone software, and one for all other computer applications. Every telephone call and radio transmission is recorded on a digital audio recording device.

Education Outreach

The Santa Rosa Police Department 9-1-1 Communications Center is also dedicated to educating young children about 9-1-1. We are working to reach each 1st grade class within the City of Santa Rosa. We at Santa Rosa Police Department teach three basic goals to young students:
  • How to call 9-1-1 on different types of phones: Landlines, Cell Phones, and Pay Phones
  • To emphasize what an emergency is: to stop a crime, to save a life, and to report a fire
  • To inform students that 9-1-1 should be called for help in emergency situations

9-1-1 Kids

Read 9-1-1 for Kids (PDF) for more information on what kids should know regarding calling 9-1-1.