The Communications Bureau is the Primary Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for the unincorporated area of Hillsborough County. The Sheriff's state-certified Communications personnel answer all incoming emergency (911) and non-emergency telephone calls 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
In a typical year, the Bureau staff answers approximately 1.6 million telephone calls from the public and other agencies, of which approximately 540,000 are received via 911. The Communications Bureau entered approximately 750,000 calls into the CAD system. The TeleServe Unit, which is also within the Bureau and staffed by Community Service Officers, handles approximately 15,000 calls for service over the phone each year.
When should I call 911
Only use 9-1-1 in life-or-death situations, in-progress crimes, or other problems that require immediate assistance from law enforcement, fire rescue, or an ambulance.
To contact the Sheriff's Office for non-emergency situations, dial our non-emergency number at 813-247-8200, or use our directory.
If you are ever in doubt as to whether a situation falls in to this category, a 9-1-1 Public Safety Telecommunicator can help you determine whether you need emergency or non-emergency assistance before they move on to answer the next emergency call. Here are the most important things to know when using 9-1-1:
Know Your Location
The dispatcher needs to know where to send help. There are over 1,050 square miles in Hillsborough County (more land area than the entire state of Rhode Island), and many street names sound alike. Knowing your address or intersection (two streets that cross) allows emergency responders to get there quickly. If you are unsure, give details and describe the location the best that you can, including any unit or door numbers, business or apartment names, etc.
It may be difficult to calm down or listen to others during an emergency, but do your best to speak clearly with the dispatcher when explaining what emergency is taking place or just occurred. When an in-progress emergency is happening, stay on the line until help arrives and you are told to disconnect.
The dispatcher will have many questions to help him/her send the right kind of help to assist in saving lives or respond to a crime that is occurring. Trust that this information is important to emergency responders.
Use 911 for Emergencies Only
Any phone is capable of dialing 9-1-1, even if phone service is not active. Don't make the mistake of allowing children to use a phone as a toy—it could interfere with someone else who needs help.
Join Our Team
Check out our Employment Services Section openings for Digital Communications Dispatcher Trainee positions within the Communications Bureau. There, you will find minimum qualifications, training salary, and instructions on your first step in the hiring process.