Calling 911: What to Expect

Emergency Assistance is Not Available Through This Website. 
In an emergency, dial 911 or your local emergency number immediately. 


Only call 911 for emergencies. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from a police officer, firefighter, or paramedic. 

To ensure that people with emergencies can get timely help, you should only call 911 for three reasons: to stop a crime, to report a fire, or to save a life.  

Stop a Crime

Call 911 to report an in-progress crime, theft, break-in or serious crime.  
Other examples are:  

  • Someone breaking into a house, car, or business
  • Someone hurting another person or animal
  • Someone brandishing a weapon
  • Someone forcing a person into a vehicle

Report a Fire

Reporting a fire prevents further loss of property and/or personal possessions.

Examples of when to reporting a fire:

  • If you see flames in a car, house, or business
  • If you see a big plume of smoke
  • If you see an explosion If you see/smell a gas or propane leak
  • If you see other potentially hazardous material Someone setting a fire

Save a Life

Quickly contacting first responders can make the difference in a life or death situation.

  • Some examples of saving a life are:
  • Someone who has collapsed or is unresponsive
  • Someone who is excessively bleeding
  • Someone who has severe chest pain
  • Someone with excessively broken or missing limbs

Don't Hang Up!
What to expect when you call 911.   

*Please note: Staying on the line does NOT delay emergency response. First responders are being sent while you give additional information to the operator.

  • Even if you hear our hold recording, don’t hang up! Hanging up will put you at the back of the queue and cause longer delays.
  • Know your location and be prepared to provide it.
  • Even with the use of technology, we don’t always know exactly where you are.
  • State your emergency and the number of people involved as best you can.
    • Are there any weapons?
    • Are there any injuries?
    • When did the incident occur?
    • Do you have any information about a suspect?
  • Follow instructions from the emergency dispatcher.
  • You may be instructed to administer first aid to those in need.
  • Stay on the line until instructed to hang up.

What's the non-emergency line?

Call the non-emergency number (720) 913-2000 to report things like: 

  • A crime not in progress or not life-threatening
  • Parking complaints
  • Loud music complaints 

Reporting a Crime Online 

You can file an online police report for non-emergency crimes such as:  

  • Damaged or lost property, vandalism 
  • Lost or stolen checks/credit cards/ATM cards 
  • Theft or lost property 
  • Vandalism or theft from/to a vehicle 
  • Graffiti 

File an Online Police Report Now

Common Questions & Answers

What questions will the 911 operator ask?

  • What is your current location?
  • What is your phone number?
  • What is happening?
  • When did the incident occur?
  • Are there injuries?
  • Can you describe any suspicious persons or vehicles?
  • Do you want contact from officers?

How long will it take for officers to respond?

Officers always try to respond as quickly as possible; however, there are a number or factors that determine how long you may wait for an officer to respond. For instance, the number of incidents and priority of calls could delay the officer from responding to your incident immediately. The type, and priority of calls determine the response time as will the number of available officers in your neighborhood.

Can I request an estimated time of arrival?

While it is reasonable to want to know how long it will take for an officer to respond, there are several logistical and operational barriers that make it difficult for call-takers to provide citizens with an estimated time of arrival (ETA). 

Due to the dynamic of constantly changing call volume, officer availability cannot be precisely estimated. Some calls may be resolved in just a few moments, while others require more thorough investigation and could take hours to complete.

How are calls processed?

When you call for assistance, whether you are reporting an emergency or a non-emergency situation, your incident is entered into our Computer Aided Dispatch System (CAD) for tracking purposes.  We verify your address, obtain your contact numbers, create a short summary of what is happening, determine the nature of incident, and then forward the information to the appropriate dispatcher.

How are 911 calls prioritized?

Call volume in the 911 Communications Center fluctuates through the day. At any time, we can receive numerous high-priority calls, or perhaps a single call requiring a response by multiple agencies. Emergency calls always take priority and are dispatched first.

What happens if I accidentally dial 911?

If you mistakenly reach 911, please do not hang up before the 911 Operator answers the phone. The information from your phone still enters our system. If you aren’t on the phone when the Operator answers, she or he will call you back. The time spent calling people back who have inadvertently dialed 911 takes time away from people who need emergency help.

What do i do if I'm having VoIP issues with 911?

VoIP subscribers enjoy certain advantages like free long distance, or cheaper options for local and cellular phone services. However, VoIP calls present problems for 911 answering systems and can often be routed to the wrong 911 center or be accidentally dropped.

In addition, because VoIP is transmitted over the Internet, the caller’s associated number often cannot be recognized by emergency 911 systems. The 911 system provides Automatic Number Information (ANI) and Automatic Location Information (ALI) which is rendered virtually useless for VoIP users.

Precautionary Measures

VoIP subscribers should take precautionary steps to ensure their safety when emergency services are needed.  

  • Keep a land line telephone installed in your house with minimal services so that you can still receive 911 services.
  • Keep a land line or have a back up for power outages or Internet difficulties.
  • Know the 911 capabilities of your VoIP provider—they have their own features and abilities pertaining to 911. 
  • Upon signing up for your VoIP, register the physical location from where the phone will be used so it can be entered into your local 911 system.
  • When you move, re-register your phone with the new address—it may take your VoIP provider some time to transfer this information to your 911 system.
  • Do not use VoIP for 911 while mobile—the center you call will only be provided with the address you have registered.
  • Attempt to test your VoIP through your local 911 center during slow times of the day—get this approved with your 911 center first.
  • Keep your family informed of your VoIP limitations and procedures.

What do I do if i have cell phone issues with 911?

Wireless cell phones can be an important public safety tool, but they also create a unique challenge for public safety and emergency response personnel in locating the caller. The precise location of a caller who dials 911 from any cell phone cannot be determined. Therefore, it is essential that you stay on the line and clearly give your location to the 911 Operator

A wireless phone is actually a radio with a transmitter and a receiver that uses radio frequencies or channels  (instead of telephone wire) to connect callers. Because wireless phones are by their very nature mobile, they are not associated with one fixed location or address.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken a number of steps to increase public safety by coordinating development of a nationwide, seamless communications system for emergency services that includes the provision of location information for wireless 911 calls. This effort has been implemented in three phases: Phase 0, Phase I, and Phase II. 

Wireless Phase II, in effect now, requires carriers to provide far more precise location information - within 50 to 300 meters (approximately 170 to 1000 feet).  The cell phone vendors have different methods in which the cellular phone handset can provide the latitude and longitude for the caller, either through triangulation, GPS or a hybrid of the two. Denver is compliant with Phase II; however, your cell phone must also be compliant to obtain more detailed location data.