Emergency 911

What Is the Emergency 9-1-1 Center?
The Boston Police Department Emergency 9-1-1 Center is the primary public safety answering point (PSAP) within the geographic boundaries of the City of Boston.

The BPD PSAP is an enhanced 9-1-1 system that detects the location and identity of callers providing first responders with the ability to provide emergency services quickly and efficiently. The system also helps callers who are unable to communicate their location.

The BPD PSAP is TTY capable for hearing-impaired callers and interpreters are available to accommodate non-English speakers.

Who Receives My Call?
The BPD PSAP receives all 9-1-1 calls made from landlines. For 9-1-1 calls made from cell phones, most will come into the BPD emergency call center others will be forwarded to the State Police EMS, or the Boston Fire Department as appropriate. The processing of cellular calls in this manner in no way delays 9-1-1 response.

When Should I Call 9-1-1?
Call 9-1-1 to report police, medical, or fire emergencies, or in situations requiring a timely response by police. You can also call to report some categories of past crimes.

For non-emergency inquiries, please contact the Captain’s Office, Detectives, or Community Service Office at your local police district. To report quality of life issues or to request City services, you can call the 24-hour Mayor’s Hotline at (617) 635-4500.

How Does 9-1-1 Work?
Trained call-takers are the first to receive 9-1-1 calls. A call-taker speaks with callers to verify their identity, the location of the emergency, and the nature of the emergency. The call-taker may continue to ask questions in order to clarify information that could assist in the response; this does not delay the response time.

The call-taker actively enters the information into a computer-aided dispatch system (CAD). Based on the nature of the emergency, the call-taker will determine whether to assign the call to the BPD, Boston Fire, or EMS, and routes the information to the appropriate dispatcher.

The BPD has five designated geographic areas, which each have a 24/7 dispatcher on a radio channel. The dispatcher manages the assignment of on-duty response units with the queue of calls that come in for their area. In some cases, a dispatcher may contact the 9-1-1 caller to obtain additional information for the units.

How Can I Call 9-1-1 Anonymously?
Although BPD procedures protect the confidentiality of 9-1-1 callers, some individuals may want to place their calls anonymously so that the enhanced 911 system provides neither their identity nor location. In these cases, callers should contact the BPD PSAP directly and confidentially at (617) 343-4911.

Please note that using this number will not provide the full capabilities of the enhanced 9-1-1 system. Furthermore, it should not be used routinely (i.e., programmed into phones), but only in situations where confidentiality is a critical factor.