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Court House

M-F 8 am-4:30 pm
Closed Holidays
Sheriff's Office
Open 24 hours
West Door

9-1-1 Frequently Asked Questions:

911 Emergency ImageWho answers 9-1-1 calls?
What should I do if I accidentally call 911?
When should I call 9-1-1?
What type of information should I give to 9-1-1?
Why am I asked to give directions on a 9-1-1 call?
If I call 9-1-1 on a cellular telephone, will I be found?
If it is not an emergency, should I call 9-1-1?
Can I talk to the Sheriff if I call 9-1-1?
If someone is knocking on my door asking to call the police, must I let them in?
Where do I get my 911 address?
Will my cellphone work in Aitkin County?
Is it true that I can call 9-1-1 from any disconnected telephone?
Why does it take so long for a deputy to respond to my call?
Will the dispatcher help in medical situations?
I was treated rudely by the dispatcher, what can I do?

Who answers 9-1-1 calls?

In Aitkin County, Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers answer all 9-1-1 calls whether it is a wired or cellular telephone. Should the call require contact with another agency we will transfer your call to the proper agency. If you are on or near the border with another county there is a chance your call will be answered by another agency, please explain your location and you will be transferred to us.

What should I do if I accidentally call 911?

Do not hang up. Allow the dispatcher to answer and explain it was an accidental call. We are obligated by law to call back and confirm there was no emergency. If we have are unable to contact the caller but have an accurate location, law enforcement will respond.

When should I call 9-1-1?

There are many good reasons to use 9-1-1:
For emergencies.
You are unsure about your location.
You do not know the non-emergency number.
You are in doubt if an incident is an emergency.

What type of information should I give to 9-1-1?

Every call is different, simply follow the questions the dispatcher asks. Be ready to provide:
WHERE you are.
WHAT happened.
WHO is involved.
HOW and WHY it happened.
And other specific questions such as weapons involved, vehicles involved and direction of travel, if they left the scene, descriptions of people involved, etc.
The most important thing in these situations is to remain calm and clear to the dispatcher so she or he can send you the help you need.

Why am I asked to give directions on a 9-1-1 call?

9-1-1 information is drawn from telephone company databases and from location information sent by a cellular telephone. As with any computerized system, errors do occur. Dispatchers ask for directions to confirm what they are seeing on their displays.

If I call 9-1-1 on a cellular telephone, will I be found?

Most cellular telephones made after 2006 have locating technology built into them. If conditions are good, we will get a location within 100 yards of your location. Being indoors, in a densely forested area, or on the edge of reception will affect accuracy of the locating system. Be prepared to talk about how you walked to where you are if you are in a wilderness area.

If it is not an emergency, should I call 9-1-1?

If you need law enforcement, fire or EMS, call 9-1-1. If you are calling for administrative units or follow-up to an emergency call, you will have to use the non- emergency numbers, 927-7435 or 888-900-2138.

Can I talk to the Sheriff if I call 9-1-1?

No, you must use the non-emergency numbers to contact the sheriff.

If someone is knocking on my door asking to call the police, must I let them in?

Minnesota Statute §609.78 states you must not interfere with anyone wishing to call 9-1-1. If you feel there could be imminent danger to yourself, do not allow the person in but call 9-1-1 immediately and let us know what is occurring. If you do allow the victim shelter while waiting for emergency services, be sure to let the dispatcher know where the incident is occurring and where we can find the victim.

Where do I get my 911 address?

Contact our Administrative Office at 218-927-7431 to start the process of getting your 9-1-1 address.

Will my cellphone work in Aitkin County?

You must contact your provider to find out. Keep in mind that much of Aitkin County is densely forested and distance from cellphone towers will affect your phone’s performance. In many areas, walking to a clearing or higher ground can solve lack of reception.

Is it true that I can call 9-1-1 from any disconnected telephone?

For most providers, that is true. The sheriff's office recommends that you do not give old phones to children as toys. If the batteries are charged, the phone will call 9-1-1 if it receives a signal the phone company does not recognize, if we can not get verbal confirmation there is not a problem and we do get a valid location on the phone, we will send law enforcement.

Why does it take so long for a deputy to respond to my call?

The Communications Center prioritizes all incoming calls to the center. We pride ourselves on our generally fast response times to all calls, but at peak times the priority system will affect our response time. Simply put our priorities are as follows:
“In progress” threat of injury or to life.
“In progress” threat to property.
Credible threats to life or property that have not occurred.
“After the fact” type incidents.
Other public safety incidents.

Will the dispatcher help in medical situations?

At this time, the communications center cannot assist with medical instructions over the telephone, we will send you first responders and an ambulance.

I was treated rudely by the dispatcher, what can I do?

The staff of the communications center attempts to deal with every call in a courteous manner. Due to the nature of emergency situations, our staff attempts to get the information required to locate you and determine the proper response in as short a time as possible. Some emergencies do require a more assertive approach to gain the information. If you feel that your call was not handled appropriately, you may contact Patrice Erickson or Undersheriff John Drahota.