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Benicia Police Department
Thursday July 15th, 2010 :: 09:44 a.m. PDT

Advisory

Benicia Police to Automate Non-Emergency Phone Calls

Benicia residents and others who call the published non-emergency lines of the Benicia Police Department will now be assisted by an automated attendant that will quickly get the caller to their correct destination, taking the burden off emergency center dispatchers who have to handle emergency calls and dispatch at the same time.

"This new service will be great for those calling and for our emergency dispatchers who have always had to answer non-emergency lines," Lt. Daley said. "We've designed an automatic attendant that will give the public a variety of options to quickly get the caller to the person who can help them."

Phone calls will be answered by the automated attendant starting the morning of Tuesday, July 27th, around 9 am. Those needing to talk to a dispatcher for a non-emergency police, fire, or medical response will still be able to do so. In addition, callers will also have direct access to leave a message for any police officer or department employee, contact Administrative and Detective personnel of the department which includes the School Resource Officers and Youth Detective, request crime and traffic reports, set up a fingerprint appointment or car seat inspection, reach the Community Services Officer that handles property and permit applications, receive instructions for on line crime reporting of minor crimes with no leads, and obtain information on lobby hours along with the departments address and fax number.

"Because our emergency center dispatchers answer every non-emergency call that comes in to the department, many times citizens have to remain on hold for a long period of time if our dispatchers are involved in an incident requiring their immediate attention," Lt. Mike Daley said. "Or, the dispatcher may have to repeatedly put the caller on hold to answer radio traffic or 911 calls. This new answering system will allow callers to find what they want while at the same time taking a big burden off of our emergency dispatchers. We will monitor how successful this automated attendant is, but we believe the public will be pleased with how it will work."

Benicia is following the lead of many police agencies in the Bay Area that deploy automated attendants for non-emergency phone calls. "Callers that need to talk to a dispatcher immediately will still be able to do that, as that is the first option," Daley said. "This system is designed to enhance public service by getting the caller to the right person and allowing our dispatchers to handle dispatching our police and fire personnel without the constant interruption of phone calls that do not require any type of response."

This new system will have no impact on Benicia's E911 system, which allows cell phone users who dial 911 for an emergency to be directly connected to the Benicia dispatch center rather than CHP. "Cell phone users who report an emergency will still go directly to a dispatcher," Daley said. "Cell phone users are also reminded to keep our non-emergency number of 707-745-3412 in their phone so they can utilize this phone service in a non-emergency situation."

For information on this press release, contact Lt. Mike Daley at (707)590-4259 or via email.

Address/Location
Benicia Police Department
200 East L Street
Benicia, CA 94510

Contact
Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 707-745-3411

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