Implementation of a New Police Non-Emergency Phone Number, 877 ASK-LAPD

June 18, 1999

Friday, June 18, 1999
The Los Angeles Police Department is announcing the implementation of a new police non-emergency phone number, "877 ASK-LAPD" (1-877-275-5273). This new number provides the public with an easy to remember phone number for their non-emergency needs. It is toll free, so there is no charge to the calling party, and it is available in Spanish and provides TTY service for the hearing impaired. "877 ASK-LAPD" is a service enhancement for use in addition to existing Police Department phone numbers. All the existing community police station and police service phone numbers currently in effect will remain active.

When someone calls "877 ASK-LAPD", the call will be answered by a police operator whenever an operator is available. If all the police operators are busy, the caller will be automatically transferred to an interactive voice response (IVR) system. The IVR provides automated access to frequently needed non-emergency services and information. It allows callers to direct themselves to the appropriate place for assistance through a series of recorded instructions and caller choices. Callers will no longer have to wait for an operator to obtain assistance for many of their non-emergency needs. Of course, callers still have the option to speak to a police operator by simply selecting that option at any time while in the IVR.

In 1998, the Police Central Dispatch Center received over 3.6 million calls for services. About 1.9 million of these calls, over half, were received through the 9-1-1 emergency number. Over 80 percent of the calls received through 9-1-1 were not emergencies or calls appropriate for reporting through the 9-1-1 system. This volume of calls has caused delays in reporting police, fire, and medical emergencies because callers receive busy signals or simply cannot get through to the emergency operator due to the non-emergency calls. Extensive 9-1-1 education efforts have helped to reduce non-emergency calls to the 9-1-1 system somewhat. Implementation of "877 ASK-LAPD" is intended to provide an alternative, single point of contact for non-emergencies to further improve the efficiency of the 9-1-1 system.

For Release 1:50 pm PST
June 18, 1999