Emergency Communications Dispatcher


The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Emergency Communications Center is staffed by Emergency Communications Dispatchers. It is the job of the dispatcher to answer incoming emergency and non-emergency telephone calls, operate our multi-channel radio system, and perform records and warrant checks. Most of the time the dispatcher is required to performs all these tasks at the same time.

Call Routing

In most cases, calling 911 in Humboldt County will connect you with one of the departments Emergency Communications Dispatchers. Callers inside the city limits of some Humboldt County cities will be answered by their local police department. Callers using a cellular telephone will be connected to the California Highway Patrol. Any of these dispatchers can transfer the 911 call to another agency if that agency cannot handle the emergency. Since the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office does not handle fire or medical emergencies, calls of those nature will be transferred to the appropriate agency. However, the dispatcher may still need to ask questions regarding the call to decide if a law enforcement response is needed.

When Calling 911

When calling 911 it is very important that the caller remain calm. It is difficult to understand a caller that is not calm. The dispatchers understand that you have an emergency and will do their best to assist you. The dispatcher will need to ask the caller a series of questions to understand what is happening. The dispatcher will want to know the following information:

  • Who is this happening to?
  • What is happening?
  • Where is this happening?
  • When did this happen?
  • Why is this happening?
  • Are there any weapons?

The dispatcher will send assistance once enough basic information has been gathered. The dispatcher may want to gather additional information once assistance has been sent. Stay on the line until told to hang up by the dispatcher.

When to Call 911

The 911 system was developed to provide quick access to help for those who need it. 911 should only be dialed in an emergency. An emergency is when an immediate threat to life or property exists. Some examples of when to call 911 include:
  • There is a physical fight occurring
  • Something is on fire
  • You observe a crime in progress
  • Somebody is sick or injured

When Not to Call 911

Don't call 911 for the following:
  • When the power goes out
  • To test your phone
  • To check the time
  • To find out a phone number
  • Call and hang up
  • Call as a prank
  • To find out if school is open
  • For a taxi