Prince George's County residents should use a new public safety non-emergency dispatch phone number, 301-352-1200, to report non-urgent incidents that require the dispatch of police, fire, EMS or sheriff personnel. In case of an emergency, residents should call 911. The new number follows the county's emergency dispatch facility move in May from Landover to the new facility in Bowie. (rest of Prince George's Gazette.net article, May 26, 2011) That page also at
On May 16, Mr. William McGown, Operations Manager, Prince George’s County Public Safety Communications, gave me this explanation for changing the non-emergency number:
"The relocation to Bowie (which is outside of the previous telephone exchange) made it necessary for us to change every phone line in and out of our center or face a substantial and recurring redirect fee if we maintained the same phone numbers. ... The new non-emergency number is one of approximately one-hundred and fifty new telephone numbers in a state-of-the-art phone system that we changed.
"As you may be aware, the number 301-333-4000 is widely referred to and known as a Police non-emergency number. However, for nearly a decade, the [Prince Geroge's County] Office of Homeland Security / Public Safety Communications has been responsible for receiving and processing non-emergency (and emergency) calls for service involving all four public safety agencies (Police, Fire/EMS, Sheriff and Homeland Security). ..."
GS: Non-emergency calls to 911 is a longstanding and serious problem, causing unnecessary, even dangerous delays in genuine emergency service. A distinctive phone number for non-emergency calls might relieve the 911 service of many non-emergency calls. Even more distinct than the long familiar 301-333-4000 (now phasing over to the not very distinctive 301-352-1200) would be something like a "311" service for non-emergency requests for response by police, fire, or emergency medical units, and possibly other non-emergency government services. It does not seem that Prince George's County has a 311 service. When i dialed 311 from Laurel on Sunday, May 29, i got the Montgomery County Customer Service Center, which was closed, so apparently MC is not using its 311 service for non-emergency calls for service to police, fire, and EMS.
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