Calling 9-1-1

In Washington Parish, call 9-1-1 for any emergency when you need help from Fire, Police, or Emergency Medical Services.  The Bogalusa Police Department answers all 9-1-1 calls from Bogalusa.  The Franklinton Police Department answers all 9-1-1 calls from Franklinton.  The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office answers all 9-1-1 calls from those areas outside of Bogalusa and Franklinton.  These three law enforcement agencies dispatch a mix of police, fire department and emergency medical services as appropriate to the situation.

The proper way of making a 9-1-1 call is to call from a safe place.  You should attempt to get away from any source of danger.  You can call from a neighbor’s house or a pay phone. The call is free.

If any one dispatcher is overloaded with calls to the point of not being able to answer, their next incoming 9-1-1 call will be automatically redirected to a backup agency.   This “call forwarding” does not occur until after 30 seconds of wait time, so give the dispatcher time to answer your call.  They may be tied up on other calls.

Stay calm and speak clearly and slowly to make sure you get the help you need.  Answer all questions that may be asked by the emergency dispatcher.  If you have a cellular phone, be certain to give your location and call-back number.  Listen for instructions.  Do exactly as the dispatcher says.  Stay on the line. Don’t hang up until you are told to do so.

If you are using a TDD, the computerized telephone system will automatically recognize the tones generated by your equipment and will respond with “9-1-1, What is your emergency ?” in baudot text. When you receive this message you will know that the link has been established.  You may then proceed with your call.  If you do not receive the initial 9-1-1 message, your TDD may not have established contact.  If this happens, it is suggested that the caller send a text message to initiate contact.

You should teach your children how to make 9-1-1 calls.  Make sure they never make prank calls.  Tell children that making fake 9-1-1 calls puts peoples’ lives at risk.  It is also against the law.  Understanding when to call should be explained for all kinds of situations that the child may confront.  Also teach your children to know their full name, address, and phone number.  Teach them to follow all instructions.

While each law enforcement agency in Washington Parish maintains their own standard operating procedures, the following example is from the Bogalusa Police Department :

Bogalusa Police Department 911 Guidelines

What happens when you call 911?

  • Our 911 Call Taker enters the information you give into a computer.
  • Our dispatchers assign a priority to the call based on the type of call (burglary, shooting, etc.). Additional information you give can affect the priority.
  • Our Dispatcher radios the information to a Police Officer in the field.
  • Additional information from you is sent to officers either by radio or computer. Details are vital, so remain calm and speak clearly.

Why prioritize calls?

We answer hundreds of calls each day – everything from found property to attempted murder. Obviously, we must respond more quickly when a life is in danger than when only property is threatened. We have limited resources and must work numerous calls simultaneously; prioritization helps us effectively and efficiently use those resources. We make every effort to provide the highest level of police service at every call.

How are common calls prioritized?

The factors below are not rigid categories but guidelines used when determining the priority of 911 calls. Some of the most common calls are listed as examples.

Classification Factors Dispatch Method Examples
Immediate, emergency police response
(lights and sirens)
 Immediate threat to life.
 Violent criminal act in  progress.
 Violent incident just occurred and there is a likelihood of suspect apprehension.
Units sent immediately  Armed robbery
 Sexual assault in progress
Immediate police response
  Criminal offense just occurred
◊ Suspects are still in the area or just left the scene
◊ Potential violence or imminent danger
◊ Non-violent criminal offense in progress with suspects still on scene (example: someone vandalizing property, kids throwing rocks at cars)
◊ Citizen’s arrest with suspect resisting (ex: shoplifter in custody causing problems)
Units sent immediately, if available. If no units are available in that district, the dispatcher determines the closest available unit and sends that unit to the call. ◊ Domestic disturbance
 Physical altercation
◊ Accident with injuries
◊ Gunshots fired
◊ Report of sexual assault (suspect fled)
◊ Hold-up or panic alarm
◊ Robbery (suspects fled or no weapon used)
Reasonable police field response
◊ No offense is in progress
A delay in police response is not likely to result in a criminal offense
◊ A delay is not likely to result in further injury, loss of property, or adversely affect investigation
◊ No reason to believe suspect is on scene or in area
◊ Citizen’s arrest with suspect not resisting.
The goal is to send the district police officer so he/she is aware of crimes in his/her area. If the district a police officer is not available, dispatcher may hold the call for up to 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, dispatcher will send an officer from another district. 911 hang ups*
◊ Shoplifter in custody/not resisting
◊ Commercial or residential alarm
◊ Runaway or missing person report
◊ Suspicious person
As-available basis by the Police officer
A delay is not likely to adversely affect investigation
No change in physical evidence expected
Suspect description unknown¨ Suspect not near
Complainant is requesting contact
The goal is to send the district officer. Dispatcher may hold the call for up to one hour, but will dispatch an officer from another district if the local district officer is still unavailable after one hour. Loud music**
Barking dogs** Residential or commercial burglary report (suspect fled) **
Assault report**
Other reports where suspect is not on scene**
Police Officer on a when- available basis
◊ No complainant is waiting
◊ Delayed investigation or report ◊ Follow-up incident
 The goal is to send the district police officer. Dispatcher may hold the call for up to two hours, but will dispatch an officer from another district if the local district officer is still unavailable after two hours. ◊ Found or abandoned property**
◊ Lost property**

About 911 hang-ups: Our policy is to respond to ALL 911 hang up calls. If you change your mind about needing assistance, stay on the line and explain that to the 911 Call Taker. Otherwise, an officer will be dispatched to your location to ensure that you are safe. Calling 911 when you do not need an officer puts those who need emergency assistance in danger and puts you in danger of being prosecuted for making a false report.

The Bogalusa Police Department is asking citizens to help stop the accidental calls by locking their cell phone keypads, turning off automatic 911 dialing features and avoiding programming 911 as a speed-dial number.

If You Do Not Have An Emergency You are Requested to call our Non-Emergency Line 732-3611

Here are some tips for calling 911. Reading these now may help you when an actual emergency occurs.

  •  Remain calm
  •  Be prepared to verify phone number and location
  •  Be brief · Answer all questions
  •  Do not hang up
  •  Be prepared to give descriptions and license numbers

Remember: Answering questions does NOT delay the dispatch of assistance. A dispatcher is sending help your way while the Call Taker takes additional information from you. The more pertinent information you give us, the safer everyone will be.

Call 911 when there is a life or death emergency that requires the immediate response of emergency service such as police, fire or paramedic. Always call 911 when there is a medical problem or something that requires the Bogalusa Fire Department to respond.

It is a misdemeanor under Bogalusa City Local Laws for any person to willfully use the 911 system for any purpose other than reporting an emergency. The Bogalusa Police Department does not want someone to be injured or killed as a result of emergency service response to a false call.