November 12, 2018
Ask the Chief
Q: I have read many posts about dialing 112 to advise a dispatcher that you are waiting to pull over to a public space if an unmarked police car has their lights on to pull you over in case it is not an actual officer. Is there any truth to this?
Thank you for your question. Social media has posted a few times, starting back in 2002, about using 112 or #77 to verify if the vehicle pulling you over is actually a police officer in an unmarked patrol vehicle. The National Emergency Number Association (NENA), states that they are the voice of 911 and all things related to emergency numbers. They also coordinate standards with the European Emergency Number Association (EENA), which is the voice of 112 in Europe. The confusion with 112 may have started as a result of the Internet and possibly adopting the European Emergency Number 112 into a North American social media post. In the United States and Canada, calling 911 for an emergency is always the best practice. Due to concerns, most places in the United States will “roll-over” 112 calls to 911, however, this is time-consuming and in an emergency every second counts. This roll-over process is still being implemented, so when traveling in the US, not all locations may have the 112 roll-overs implemented. In Minnesota, the roll-over process is complete and 112 will convert to 911, however, please do not test this process, as it distracts from actual emergency calls.
In 2013, the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department in Wisconsin warned citizens to ignore social media posts advising to use 112 and utilize 911 always in an emergency. Also, in researching the #77, in some locations in the United States, #77 will connect directly to the Highway Patrol for that State, but again, this is not universal, so if you need emergency assistance, stay with 911! There is absolutely no advantage to calling 112 or #77 in the United States; in fact, you lose valuable time so stay with calling 911 in an emergency.
1. National Emergency Number Association, located online at:https://www.nena.org/news/news.asp…
2. “Authorities Warn Against Calling 112 for Emergencies”, Journal-Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, March 1, 2013. Located online at:http://archive.jsonline.com/…/authorities-warn-against-dial…
Please feel free to share this Q & A on your social media sites or in your organization’s newsletter.