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9-1-1 Communication Center

            Egbert Dijkstra

Assistant Director:

            Todd Anderson

Hours of Operation

  • 911 is open 24 hrs/day, 365 days a year.
  • Office hours are Monday-Friday 8am-4pm
  • 911 (For Emergency calls)
  • 533-4151 (For non-emergency calls)

     Elkhart County 911 Center
     22286 County Road 28
     Goshen, Indiana 46526
     Business phone: 574-537-2300
     Elkco911@hotmail.com (e-mail address for 911)

The Elkhart County 911 Center takes all 911 landline calls for service for the County of Elkhart, including the City of Goshen and towns of Bristol, Middlebury, Wakarusa and Millersburg, the exceptions are Elkhart City and Nappanee City who have their own Dispatch Centers.  We also take all cellular 911 calls for the entire county, including calls for Elkhart City and Nappanee City, due to those agencies not having the ability to receive incoming cellular calls. In addition, we take all non-emergency calls for the County of Elkhart, including the City of Goshen and towns of Bristol, Middlebury, Wakarusa and Millersburg.

All personnel within the 911 Center are trained through an extensive three to four month hands-on training program. All are CPR certified, IDACS certified and are certified as Emergency Medical Dispatchers and, whenever possible, will keep callers on the telephone in emergency situations and give instructions to callers until emergency personnel can arrive.

We have recently moved into a new 911 center within the last 14 months.  Our new 911 center was completed and operating as of October 25, 2005.  The new 911 facility has state of the art equipment used to ensure public safety, and has 10 individual consoles that can be manned at any time in the event of a major incident.

We are accessible to all patrons of the county.  With the capability and technology we have available, we are able to communicate with the hearing impaired as well as non- English speaking persons.  The 911 center takes approximately 1400-1800 incoming phone calls in any 24-hour time period and has had occurrences where the center has taken several thousand calls in a 24-hour time period.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you know my address and phone number when I call?

We have what is called “E911” or Enhanced 911 capabilities at our center.  That means that our computer aided dispatch system has a link to the local telephone company’s computer.  When we answer the phone, a computer display shows the billing name, the address, and phone number of the telephone on the other end of the call.

  • When should I call 911?

Anything that has just occurred or is still in progress that could be life threatening.  You should call if you have a medical emergency in which someone needs an ambulance.  A fire or any incident which has injuries or unknown injuries would be reason to call.

  • When should I NOT call 911?

You should not use 911 if you are reporting anything that has occurred prior to right now (like yesterday, days before, or even weeks before).  An incident where the responsible party is gone and there is no person or property who is in danger at that time but a report is necessary for insurance.

  • Can I still get 911 if I dial the operator?

Yes.  You can get connected to 911, however, when you are connected through the operator, we do not get your address or phone number on our Enhanced 911 display. (Many of us did not have 911 when we grew up and we would call the operator who would transfer us to the police, fire or ambulance when needed.) By not dialing 911, it slows down the process by preventing us from verifying your address.  When you call in an emergency, you are often upset, afraid or not able to talk and maybe even not thinking rationally, as a result you can sometimes forget your address and we cannot get help to you until your location is determined.

  • What happens if I call 911 accidentally and hang up?

The dispatcher will try to call your number back.  If the dispatcher reaches a child on the phone, he/she will ask to speak to an adult.  An officer will be dispatched to the residence/business if no one answers when they attempt to call back or if they are unable to get an adult on the phone.  If the line is busy when the call back attempt is made, the dispatcher will dispatch an officer to do a welfare check or even make an attempt to break through the line with the help of an operator to see if it was a misdial or if there is an actual emergency occurring.

  • You already know my address and phone number so why do you still ask me for it?

Computers are wonderful technology, but they are not infallible.  Mistakes can be made so we want to make sure or confirm that the information we are seeing is correct.  Another possibility is that you may be calling from a neighbor’s house but that may not be where help is needed so we want to make sure we are sending help to the correct location.

  • Why do you ask so many irrelevant questions when I call 911?

We ask questions pertaining to the location of an incident and descriptions of vehicles or people involved.  Often we ask for descriptions of the victim’s clothing as well as the suspect’s clothing, this is to make sure that the officers who respond know which people are involved and how.  At times we also need to know if a crime is still occurring or if it occurred some time ago in order to determine if the suspects may or may not still be in the area and if the officers should go searching for them.

  • Why can’t you just send help instead of keeping me on the phone?

In an emergency, you are likely to be highly upset or even frantic.  Remember that most often while you are speaking to the call taker on the phone, another dispatcher is already sending the help you need.  Sometimes the call taker will keep you on the phone to try to keep you calm and occupied until help arrives.  Sometimes they will even tell you what to do to help the victim until help arrives.  The best thing you can do is to be responsive and don’t try to fight the call taker or hang up on him/her.  If you’ve hung up before all the necessary information has been obtained, you may delay the arrival of help.

  • Why do you ask me the same questions over and over?

We try to be as efficient and quick as possible.  The only time we repeat questions is when the caller is too upset to be understood.  We understand that when a crisis occurs it is human nature to get upset.  But when the caller is screaming, crying or cursing at us we are unable to understand what the problem is and are trying to obtain all the necessary information


Copyright 2007