Neighborhood Watch Captains visit Police Dispatch Center


Courtesy of Pia Mantovani-Sud, Neighborhood Watch Captain:

Barbara Gellman, Lorraine George, Ruth DeSantis; photo by Pia Montovani-Sud

On January 27, Barbara Gellman, four other Neighborhood Watch street captains and I had the opportunity to visit the Police Dispatch Center, located inside the police headquarters in downtown San Diego. Carl Radar, the Dispatch Supervisor, led us on a 1 1/2 hour tour into the bowels of the center and gave us plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

One of the questions that came up during the very informative visit was when to call 9-1-1. We were told to call 9-1-1 for a crime in progress or an immediate danger to someone, a fire, and such. For more information on emergency situations

If your car was burglarized or you see evidence of a crime after it happened that does not involve loss of life or injury, call the non-emergency phone line at 619-531-2000. You can also file a police report via the city’s website at

The dispatchers are here to help in any kind of situation, but we must also be aware that sometimes their lines are clogged up, because people are accidentally calling 9-1-1 on their cell phones. Every time a call comes in, and there’s nobody on the other line, dispatchers will call back to find out what’s going on, thus taking away precious resources that could go to other more serious matter.

Be also aware, that if more people report an incident, it gets more attention. Please be aware, that 9-1-1 will not address barking dogs or neighborly disputes. More information is available on the Police Department website

By the way, the police department is looking to train and hire more dispatchers. Visit

Editor’s note: All calls to San Diego 9-1-1 are answered by the Police Department. The person answering the phone will ask questions to assess the emergency and contact the fire-rescue department or another city agency if it is not a police matter. If the call is a police matter but not an emergency, the caller will be instructed to call the police non-emergency number at 619-531-2000.

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