The Port Arthur Police Department handles thousands of calls for service per year. The majority of these calls originate from reports made to the department by telephone. If you report an incident to the department, doing so in an effective manner can generate a more prompt and proper response.

When you call the department a Telecommunications Operator (TCO) will answer your call. The TCO will then gather and compile the information you provide onto a Complaint Card and the call will be dispatched in a timely manner. The department answers all calls for service; however, calls are dispatched in terms of priority depending on the nature of the call and the availability of officers to respond to calls received.

Upon receiving your call, the TCO will gather pertinent information regarding the call. The most important information you can provide is the nature of your call and the location where the department’s assistance is needed. The TCO will then gather additional information applicable to your call including suspect and vehicle descriptions, elapsed time, and other necessary information. The TCO will also need to gather information regarding any threats present at the scene (e.g. weapons) to ensure the safety of all parties involved, especially that of the responding officers. The TCO is a trained professional and it is imperative that you cooperate by answering the TCO’s questions and following any instructions you are given. The quality of the response depends largely on the quality of the information you provide and your willingness to cooperate.

You are strongly encouraged to contact the department to report criminal activity and other types of disturbances. If you choose you may report an incident without leaving your name in many instances. But it is important to report these incidents because the department cannot resolve them unless departmental personnel are aware they are occurring and by taking the initiative to report them, together we can make Port Arthur a safer community for everyone.

You are welcome to contact the department with any questions or concerns you have.  You may also request services of the department, such as checking your home while you’re on vacation.  If you’re requesting a service that the department is unable to provide, personnel can refer you to the appropriate agency or course of action.  Above all, remember that the Port Arthur Police Department is here to serve you.

One of the most valuable advancements to the Port Arthur Police Department has been the addition of the 911 system. Calling 911 not only allows you to summon emergency assistance from the police department, but also from the fire department and EMS agencies.  911 can prove especially beneficial toward generating the appropriate response when seconds count.

The Port Arthur Police Department is a Primary Answering Point for all 911 calls placed in the City.  911 calls for Police, Fire, or Medical assistance are all answered by dispatchers. The 911 system is an “enhanced” system, giving it the capability of bringing up the address and phone number of the person calling.  This feature is used to make sure that assistance will arrive even if the caller is unable to speak into the phone. The Port Arthur Police Department has added equipment that will enable the dispatcher to communicate with the deaf.

When you call 911, a Telecommunications Operator (TCO) will gather the information and generate the appropriate response.  You will need to provide the TCO with the necessary information. The most important information you should provide is the nature of the call and the location where assistance is needed.  Although the TCO has a screen that displays the address and phone number, it is important to provide this information to ensure that the screen is displaying the proper location.  It is especially important to provide a location if you’re calling on a cellular phone or if you’re requesting assistance at a location other than the one you’re calling from.  You should also provide other bits of information pertinent to the call such as suspect or vehicle descriptions or threats present at the scene (e.g. weapons).  To generate the proper response, you must cooperate by answering questions and following instructions given by the TCO.
911 may be used to report in-progress emergencies or those that have just occurred.  Examples of incidents that may be reported on 911 include property crimes (e.g. burglary, auto theft), violent crimes, disturbances, wrecks, fires or similar hazardous conditions, and medical emergencies. If you’re reporting a minor incident, or an incident where a significant amount of time has elapsed since its occurrence, then you should report it using the non-emergency police phone number at  983-8600.
Despite the advantages of having a 911 service available, there are many instances of abuse and misuse.  You should not call 911 to report any incident unless it constitutes an emergency.  Although 911 is a familiar phone number, you should not call it to report non-emergency calls simply because you don’t know the non-emergency phone number — the number is published in the telephone directory or can be obtained by calling directory information.  Similarly, 911 is a free call, but you should not call it from a pay phone to report non-emergency calls because you don’t have sufficient change for the call.  You should not make false reports or prank calls on 911 either.  Remember that 911 is for emergency use only, and that misuse or abuse of 911 may in fact be preventing an actual emergency call from reaching the department.  Misuse or abuse of 911 or allowing a phone under your control to be used for these purposes can result in criminal charges against you.

911 is an effective tool for reporting emergency incidents but it must be used properly.  By using 911 for its intended purpose you can generate a prompt and proper response for an emergency call for service, thus resolving it in a timely manner.