First responders hope people will reserve 911 for emergencies only as they anticipate influx of calls

Indianapolis Area Crime

INDIANAPOLIS — Fourth of July weekend is typically one of the busiest for IMPD officers and 911 dispatchers. IMPD bumped up patrols across the city, especially downtown.

This comes less than a week after a shootout downtown last weekend. Fortunately, no one was hurt but bullets hit business windows and cars.

“We will have an increase in patrols throughout the downtown corridor because we want folks to feel safe in our downtown area, with the whole Circle City, we want folks to feel safe,” Officer William Young said of this weekend’s patrol plans.

IMPD said its emergency response and special events teams will support patrol officers downtown, along with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Indiana State Police. IMPD’s districts will also have more officers on patrol.

“None of our districts will go short as far as officers are concerned,” Young said. “So, we’ll have the manpower that we’ll need.”

Captain Mitch Gore of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said 911 dispatchers anticipate answering 3,000 calls on Independence Day alone this year. The team is asking the public not to call the emergency line for fireworks complaints.

“There is a serious risk that when you call 9-1-1 for non-emergencies, you’re putting somebody in danger because if you have a life-or-death issue, you have to be able to reach a dispatcher as quickly as possible, every second counts,” Gore said.

We know Hoosiers will continue to enjoy backyard fireworks after the holiday. So, Gore hopes everyone will remember this message: only call 911 in an emergency and/or when a crime is being committed, like shots being fired.

“We have people call not infrequently to report that their fast-food order was wrong, and they’re upset,” Gore explained. “We had one young lady call not too long ago because she got a bad haircut and she wanted us to arrest her hairdresser.”

Of course, officers do want you to call 911 if you are in danger.

“If we believe that actual shots are being fired from a firearm, that is a priority for our officers, and we’ll be right there,” Young said.

The non-emergency number to call is 311 from your cell phone, or 317-327-3811 from a landline. If you dial 911, do not hang up on the dispatcher and give them the information they request.

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