Communications

Public Safety Answering PointThe Campbell Police Department Communications Division is the primary Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for the City of Campbell. Dispatchers are responsible for prioritizing and dispatching calls for service, monitoring and tracking field units, and ensuring the safety of officers in the field.

All calls to 911 originating in the City of Campbell are answered by Campbell’s staff of dispatchers. Additionally, dispatchers answer calls received on numerous other emergency and non-emergency telephone lines. Calls received for fire and medical emergencies are transferred to Santa Clara County Communications for dispatching of fire and emergency medical units.

911 Education
What Is 911?
911 is the number to call for help in a police, fire or medical emergency.

When Should I Call 911?
You should call 911 for emergencies such as:
  • A crime is occurring and you need the police
  • Someone has been seriously hurt and you need an ambulance
  • There is a fire or you see smoke
  • There is a traffic accident
  • Someone’s life is in danger
  • Any other emergency
If you are unsure if something is an emergency, call 911. Ask yourself if there is a danger to a person or property. Some examples of emergencies where you should call 911 are:
  • Someone is breaking into my neighbor’s car
  • I can hear my neighbors yelling and fighting
  • A pot on my stove is on fire
  • My mother just cut her hand and she is bleeding a lot
  • There is a man breaking into a car parked across the street
What Should I Do When I Call 911?
Be prepared to answer the dispatcher’s questions in a calm, clear voice. The dispatcher is trained to ask questions to determine the nature of the emergency such as:
  • What is happening
  • Where is the incident occurring
  • Who is involved
  • Is there a weapon
  • Has anyone been injured
  • Etc.
This information will assist the dispatcher in determining what type of help to send you.

What if I Call 911 by Accident?
Do not hang up. You need to stay on the line and explain to the dispatcher that everything is okay. If you hang up, the dispatcher may think that there is an emergency and send a police officer.

What if I Need Help, but it’s not an Emergency?
You can reach a dispatcher on our non-emergency phone line at 408-866-2101.

When Should I not Call 911?
You should not call 911 for non-emergency situations such as:
  • My neighbor’s TV is really loud.
  • My neighbor’s dog has been barking all day.
  • Why is the power out in my neighborhood?
For non-emergency situations such as the ones outlined above, call the non-emergency line at 408-866-2101.

What if I Don’t Speak English?
Dispatchers have access to translators for callers who do not speak English. When the dispatcher requires the services of a translator, the dispatcher will add the interpreter to the call.

What if I am Speech- or Hearing-Impaired and Need to Call 911?
All dispatchers are equipped with TDD (Teletype Device for the Deaf) detectors and can communicate with TDDs from their 911 workstation.

Cell Phones and 911
While cell phones can be an important public safety tool, they also create unique challenges for public safety and emergency response personnel and for cell phone service providers. Because cell phones are mobile, they are not associated with one fixed location or address. A caller using a cell phone could be calling from anywhere. While the location of the cell site closest to the caller may provide a very general indication of the caller's location, that information is not usually specific enough for rescue personnel to deliver assistance to the caller quickly.

Depending on which cell tower picks up your cell phone signal, your call will be routed to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) or a local police agency such as the Campbell Police Department. If the call is answered by CHP and something is occurring within a local police agency’s jurisdiction, they will connect you with the appropriate agency.

If you are calling from a cell phone to report an emergency occurring in the City of Campbell, you can dial the Police Department’s emergency number at 408-378-8161. 

To get help to you, there are a few pieces of information the call-taker needs to know immediately:
  • Tell the call-taker which city you're calling from.
  • Tell the call-taker what type of emergency you have.
  • Give the call-taker your cell phone number.
Remember
  • Stay calm and speak clearly!
  • Listen carefully to the call-taker and answer questions concisely.
  • Do not hang up until the 911 call-taker has obtained all of the information that is needed.
  • Since you are calling from a cell phone, your call may be disconnected if the signal is lost. Be sure to call back if you are cut off.
  • When calling 911 on a cellular phone, be sure to stop if you are in a moving vehicle. It is difficult to obtain all of the information needed if you are getting further from the emergency.
  • Your call may need to be transferred to another agency, so stay on the phone and wait for the new call-taker to begin asking questions.
False Alarm Ordinance
While we strongly recommend an alarm system as an effective crime prevention device, our department is faced with an ever-increasing false alarm problem. In most cases, two or more officers respond, setting aside other duties to answer these high priority calls for service. These unnecessary responses pose hazards to police and citizens.

A false alarm is any alarm activation caused by human error or equipment malfunction requiring police response, with no evidence of an actual crime having been committed. Some of the most common causes of false alarms are as follows:
  • Incorrect keypad procedures.
  • Failure to train authorized users.
  • Failure to secure doors and windows before arming the system.
Some of the things that you can do to reduce false alarms are as follows:
  • Insure authorized users are familiar with you alarm system's operation.
  • Secure all doors and windows prior to arming your alarm.
  • Be aware of changes in the environment (i.e., new animals, design changes, seasonal decorations. plants, etc.) that might have an impact on your alarm.
  • Notify your monitoring facility of any changes (i.e., house guests, name changes, new employees, employee terminations, etc.).
The Campbell City Council addressed this problem by enacting a false alarm ordinance.

Campbell Municipal Code Section 5.34.130 states that if a false alarm occurs at a business or residence more than three times in a calendar year, the fourth false alarm and each subsequent false alarm will be assessed a fee for each alarm (fee subject to change annually).

At the report of the 10th false alarm in a calendar year, the Police Department may elect to cease to respond to the alarm and shall notify the responsible party of such action.

If the business or residence can demonstrate to the police chief or his designee substantial corrective action, the alarm may be reinstated and police response will be reinstated.

For more information, please call Paula Gallagher at 408-866-2126.