How 911 Works

Call Processing

When you call 911, a Call Taker evaluates your call and determines what type of response is required. The Call Taker enters your call information into the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system which routes your call to the appropriate Seattle Police sector for deployment. Calls requiring a fire or medical response are conferenced with Seattle Fire Department and Medic One for deployment and pre-arrival medical instructions.  


After the call is processed, a Radio Dispatcher communicates to First Responders in the field. When a call is entered, the Radio Dispatcher is immediately notified of the incoming call and dispatches available resources. The Radio Dispatcher maintains contact with units in the field and coordinates the response of specialty units including Crisis Responders, Detectives, and SWAT.

Accessibility Services (Deaf, Hard of Hearing)

  • In Seattle, deaf and hard of hearing callers can text 911. 
  • To assist hard of hearing callers, each 911 call taker station in the Seattle Community Safety and Communications Center is equipped with a teletypewriter (TTY) machine. 
  • Each Call Taker is trained in the procedures to answer these calls. 
  • Frequent test calls are done to assure that Call Takers maintain their TTY skills. 
  • Note: Callers using TTY equipment must dial 911 to reach police, fire, and emergency medical assistance. 

Interpreter Services

  • Call Takers have immediate access to language interpreters who can assist them in communicating with callers who do not speak English.

Community Assisted Response and Engagement (CARE)

Acting Chief Amy Smith
Mailing Address: PO Box 94607, Seattle, WA, 98124-6907
Phone: (206) 625-5011 (For non-emergencies)
Contact CARE

Learn about CARE, Seattle’s 911 Center that provides emergency and non-emergency responses.