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Sheriff's Office

Communication Divisions / 911 Dispatch

A language line is provided 24 hours a day for all who need translations in an emergency.

Se proporciona una línea de idioma las 24 horas todos los días para aquellos que necesitan traducciones en caso de una emergencia.

For non-emergency inquiries call 732.349.2010 or send us a message.

The Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Communications Division consists of a 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), which answers 9-1-1 calls for all 33 of the municipalities in Ocean County and a full Public Safety Dispatch Operation. The operation is a consolidated communications center, serving multiple jurisdictions and disciplines. The Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Communications Division provides the highest quality and most professionally competent public services to over 600,000 residents year round and a swell of 1 million residents during the summer travel months.

Law enforcement dispatch services are provided for the Sheriff's Office, Prosecutor's Office, Medical Examiner’s Office, and 13 municipal police agencies. Additionally, Fire Dispatch Services are provided for 39 fire companies, Emergency Medical Dispatch services for 22 first aid squads and the dispatch of 3 special response and tactical support teams. Paramedic and Life Flight dispatch is provided for the entire county. Our Communications Division is a two-stage operation with a dedicated call taker area and a separate dispatch area. The call takers communicate with the police/fire/ems dispatchers through a computer aided dispatch system (CAD). The County's public safety and public service communication needs are handled with the use of a 700 MHz Trunked Radio System.

In continuing its commitment to the safety and security of Ocean County’s residents, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Communications Division PSAP underwent several infrastructural enchantments. The 911 center is capable of receiving and dispatching text to 911 calls. During the winter of 2013, a new dispatch center housing all operations was completed. In 2015, additional upgrades were implemented to include additional improvements to dispatch communications and installation of a new emergency 911 phone switch. In the summer of 2016, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office upgraded its computer aided dispatch system as well as provided its officers with a fleet of new mobile data terminals. In 2016, the Sheriff’s Office and several of its dispatched agencies converted to a shared call taking and records management system. In 2019, the police dispatch positions were expanded to allow for 33% more coverage.

The Communications Division is also equipped with a Mobile Command Unit (MCU). The MCU responds to large scale incidents such as fires, multi-casualty incidents and public relations events. It is a mobile command center that is operated and staffed by the members of the Communications Division.

Once considered simply a clerical position, dispatch professionals are now recognized as public safety telecommunicators (PST) and the first responders on the scene of any crime, fire or medical emergency. No longer “just a dispatcher,” these highly trained professionals are protecting callers and responders, preserving evidence and saving lives every day.

Did You Know?

In calendar year 2018, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Communications Division handled over 547,000 telephone calls of which 202,000 were 911 calls. The Division also dispatched 345,000 calls for service (CFS).

PSTT Selection Process

Frequently Asked Questions

What is 911?
The number 911 is an easy three digit number one may dial on a phone to get help when there is a life-threatening or in-progress emergency. Anyone should dial 911 when there is a suspected fire, serious accident, medical emergency, someone’s life is in danger, suspicious activity or a dangerous crime is taking place.
When you call 911 a professionally-trained public safety telecommunicator or PST will answer the phone. Personnel are trained and dedicated to screening calls quickly and efficiently. The 911 PST will ask questions concerning the emergency and will send help to you, such as the police, fire department or ambulance. If you are not sure whether there is a real emergency, it is better to be safe and call 911.

What Happens When I Call 911?
When you dial 911 in New Jersey the dispatcher can, in most cases, see on a special viewing computer screen the address and phone number you are calling from. When you call 911 from a landline, emergency responders can find you—even if you do not know where you are or you can't speak. That is because calling 911 from a traditional landline (a telephone connected to the lines on the poles) allows a computer in the 911 communications center show the number and address of the phone you are using.

It is called the ANI/ALI (automatic number identification/automatic location identification) and it is standard equipment in any Public Service Answering Point (PSAP), which is colloquially known as a 911 communications center.

Mobile Phones Aren't Landlines –What’s the difference?
When you make a 911 call on a cell phone, you are sending signals through the air. The tower that picks up your phone's signal may be near to your location or not. That is not enough information for the dispatcher to find you. You will need to stay calm and answer the dispatcher’s questions to narrow down your location.

The Federal Communications Commission requires that all wireless carriers must be able to pinpoint your location for the 911 dispatcher, but the protocol is coming in phases and there are plenty of exceptions. Those exceptions may be the distance of the caller from the cell tower, the bandwidth the cell tower is using, the strength of the signal your mobile device has to the tower, the mobile device’s security privileges or ultimately the end user’s capabilities to use the mobile device.

If the mobile device is transmitting its location, the Sheriff’s Office will see your location when a PST answers your 911 call. If the mobile device is not transmitting its location, the PST will send a text message to you to attempt to allow the mobile device to communicate information back to the 911 center. The management of when this is done is at the discretion of the PST and the overall circumstances of the incident at hand.

What information should I be ready to share when I call the 911 center?
The PST dispatcher will attempt to obtain information about the emergency in a specific order. This allows the PST dispatcher to make quick decisions necessary to provide an immediate response. Some of the questions the PST dispatcher may ask are:
• What is the emergency?
• Is it occurring now?
• Where is the emergency located at?
• Where are you calling from?
• What is your name and phone number for contact purposes?
• Can you see what is happening right now?

If it is a crime, the PST dispatcher may ask additional questions:
• Description of the suspect; name (if known), race, sex, age, height, weight, hair, facial hair, clothes, etc.
• Description of the suspect’s vehicle; make, model, color, license plate number
• The direction the vehicle was last seen traveling?
• What type of weapon was used?
• Have the involved parties been drinking, using drugs?

If it is a medical emergency, the PST dispatcher will ask directly related questions to the medical concern. For instance;
• Is the patient conscious? Are they breathing?
• Do you or the patient take any medications?
• Are there any allergies?
• Do you know CPR?
• What type of bleeding are you seeing?

Other emergency calls that are common are missing or wandering persons. Callers should be ready to answer specific questions which will assist emergency personnel to respond and locate the person.
• What is the person’s name and age?
• When is the last time they were seen?
• What clothing are they wearing?
• What nicknames, medications, or past history?
• Additional important questions will be asked as they relate to the person/incident

NOTE: Emergency calls are prioritized according to the degree that persons or property are being threatened or are at risk. For example, a crime in progress receives a quicker response than one that was committed in the past.

How do I call 911?
1. Dial 911 on a phone by selecting the 9, then 1, then 1 again. The call will automatically dial to a 911 center.

2. Be calm- When a caller is upset or hysterical, it is difficult to hear and understand what one is saying. To allow for important information to be quickly shared, take a deep breath and focus on the task at hand; the time saved by calming oneself is critical. The PST dispatcher will assist you in this; you are not alone as they are there to help you.

2. When the call is answered, tell the PST dispatcher what you need and/or what the emergency is; “I need an ambulance, fire truck, police officer; there’s a burglary in progress, there’s been a car accident, someone is having a heart attack, etc.”

3. Clearly state your name and address. If your address is different from the location of the crime, be sure to let the dispatcher know. The PST dispatcher will verify your address and telephone number to ensure help can be properly dispatched. If the address is unknown, the PST dispatcher will guide you through instructions to assist in locating you.

4. If possible, provide additional information to the PST dispatcher, such as suspect description, vehicle description, background medical information etc.

5. DO NOT Hang Up- Stay on the phone. Do not hang up unless you are instructed to by the PST.

What if I call 911 by accident?
DO NOT HANG UP! Stay on the line and tell the dispatcher that everything is all right. If you do not, the dispatcher may think that something is wrong and send an officer. The 911 center will call you back to properly document if an emergency does exist.

What if I use a TTY Machine?
If you use a Text Telephone (TDD, TTY) machine for the deaf, make sure you know the correct way to dial 911 on your machine. After dialing 911, tap several letter keys on the keyboard to alert the dispatcher, and then wait several moments. Repeat this procedure until the dispatcher answers. The Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center has TTY capabilities.

What if I cannot call, but can text my emergency?
In Ocean County, the Communications 911 dispatch center can receive Text to 911 messages. If someone is in a position where they cannot make a call, but can request 911 assistance by text, a person may text to: 911. The text will be received by the PST dispatcher, a text conversation will take place with the PST dispatcher, which will dictate the emergency response to the incident.

What if I speak limited English?
In Ocean County, the 911 dispatcher is able to connect you with a translator. Depending on the language spoken, it may take a few moments for the translator service to locate a translator. If you speak limited English or none at all, tell the dispatcher that there is an emergency and which language you speak. There may be a short delay while the dispatcher connects the caller with a translator. Do not hang up.
Why is it important to use 911 correctly?
It may seem difficult at times to reach the 911 dispatcher. One reason this happens is because many people call 911 when there is no emergency. The dispatcher must spend time talking to these people instead of helping others who have real emergencies. That is why it is important to call 911 only when there is a life threatening emergency.

Why Use 911?
It is better to call in a few mistakes than to have a member of the public fall victim to a medical emergency. Responding to a medical emergency is critical and needs special attention.

The public should also commit to calling in ALL suspicious activity without delay. The time it takes to respond to a crime-in-progress is a determining factor in apprehending criminals. A delay in reporting a crime by a couple of minutes greatly reduces law enforcement’s effectiveness and keeping our neighborhoods safe.

Responding quickly and accurately is important. A large number of arrests are made as a result of information that are provided by citizens. The apprehension of one criminal may be the key to other crimes already committed and will definitely reduce any future crimes. Others in your community will greatly appreciate your efforts.

Parents should also have an emergency plan, persons to contact, emergency phone numbers, etc. at the ready and available for family members, babysitters, etc. Families should review with their children the importance of using 911 and how to use it if there is an emergency.