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Communications Department

The Edinburg Public Safety Communications Department plays a vital supporting role to both the police and fire department.  The Public Safety Communications Department is heavily relied upon to assist citizens in need to get the help they require from responding personnel.  The Public Safety Communications Department is comprised of dedicated licensed telecommunicators providing 24/7 emergency and non-emergency services.

The Communications Department is comprised of 23 licensed telecommunicators; 20 Communication Operators, 2 Communication Supervisors, 1 Communication Manager.

On average, the Communications Department answers 75,000 combined calls for Police, Fire, Medical and Animal Control concerns.  The Communications Department answers both 911 and non-emergency calls.  The Communications Operators are assigned to one of three functions each day: answering calls, dispatching police officers or dispatching fire department.  If a caller needs medical assistance, the call is transferred to the ambulance services and the operator stays on the line silently, to properly screen and input the call into the system. 

Once a call for police or fire service is entered, the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system routes the call to the Communications Operator assigned to the police or fire radio. This means when you call 9-1-1 or Crime Stoppers, the operator you are speaking to is not the operator who is dispatching the call, and they are not the person physically responding to your call; this is why answering an operator's questions does not delay an officer’s or fire fighter’s response time.

Find out how you can join our team here

911:  What To Do

What to do when you call 911?
An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and sometimes dangerous situation requiring immediate police, fire or medical action. 
Call 911 immediately if you are experiencing or witnessing an emergency. 
When you call, please try to:
  • Stay calm 
  • Speak clearly 
  • Answer all questions the operator is asking you
  • Follow directions the operator gives you 
Keep in mind, when you dial 911, the operator that is taking down your information is not the same operator that is sending you help. These two operators work independently and simultaneously when an emergency call comes into the department. 
The operators are trained professionals and that may need to extract more information in order for the emergency personnel to respond faster and assist them in apprehending any suspects.
For example, if you are reporting a burglary of habitation that just occurred, the responding officers need to know the physical description of the suspects from head to toe, their method and direction of travel and if any weapons were used during the commission of the crime. The operators are asked to stay on the line with victims calling 911 if they believe they can provide more information for the officers.

911 FAQs

When should I call 9-1-1?  Can't I just text 9-1-1?
9-1-1 is solely to report life threatening emergencies, crimes in progress, medical issues, fires or any situation where there is potential for violence.  Texting 9-1-1 should only be used in extreme and rare cases where you are unable to talk due to a life threatening circumstance.
What if I call 9-1-1 for something is that is not an emergency?
You will be provided with the Edinburg Police Department non-emergency number, which is 956 289 7700.
Are Communications Operators also Police Officers?
No.  Communications Operators are licensed telecommunicators.  You will not speak to a Police Officer when calling 9-1-1 or Crime Stoppers.  All reports will be done in person with an officer.
Can a disconnected cell phone call 9-1-1?
Yes!  Disconnected cell phones that are charged are still able to dial 9-1-1.  If you do not pay for cell service, but have an old phone, you can keep it with you in case you need to use it to report an emergency.  Please keep this information in mind when giving your old phone to a child to play with, as we receive many calls from children playing on disconnected cell phones, and these calls take time away from answering real emergency calls.
How many lines can the 9-1-1 operators answer at time?
We currently only have four answering stations for 9-1-1 and therefore can only take 3 calls at a time.  However, 9-1-1 will only ring six times before it rolls over to a surrounding agency.  All calls will be answered by an operator even if all operators at our department are busy on other emergency calls.  Edinburg Police uses the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office as our back up to 9-1-1 calls.
Why does the operator keep asking me questions?  If they just sent the police, they would find out all they need to know.
Answering questions an operator asks you does not delay the police / fire response in any way.  While you are answering these questions, the information is being sent to a dispatcher who is updating the responding units. Situations change quickly in the time it takes for an officer to respond, and the chances of apprehending a suspect or stopping a violent act in progress are greatly increased when you provide the information the operator is asking from you.