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Culpeper 911 Center

The Culpeper Joint Dispatch Center, established in 1998, operates 24 hours a day and utilizes Enhanced 9-1-1 which displays the phone number, address and name to whom a plate is listed.


The Culpeper Joint Dispatch Center dispatches for the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office, Culpeper Town Police and all nine Fire and Rescue Departments in Culpeper County.

The dispatchers are responsible for receiving calls for service from the community and then routing the request to the appropriate agency. 

How Does My Call Get to 9-1-1?

When you call from a phone installed at a residence, business, or pay phone, the phone number of the phone determines which 9-1-1 center you reach. Each 9-1-1 center or Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) has an enormous list of phone numbers that are designated to come to that center. All of these numbers have a special secondary number on file with the phone company that directs your call to the correct 9-1-1 center for your area.

If you call from a cell phone the procedure is slightly different. Cell phones transmit to the nearest cellular tower and from there to the closest 9-1-1 center. The 9-1-1 center is determined by the location of the cell tower. Sometimes if you are close to a county or state border, you might get the wrong 9-1-1 center. However, the employees there will direct your call to the correct center to get the help you need.

If you are hearing or speech impaired, the Communications Division is equipped with a Text Telephone (TTY) device to allow communication through your TTY device.

If you do not speak English, we will contact the Language Line to provide an interpreter. It helps us if you are able to tell us the name of the language you speak in English, so we can tell the language line which interpreter to choose.

Once you reach 9-1-1, the dispatcher will ask some questions. If you do not have an emergency, the dispatcher will refer you to a non-emergency number. Some of these calls go elsewhere through the non-emergency phone tree, but most are answered by the 9-1-1 dispatchers. The reason for getting you off the 9-1-1 line is twofold. One, we are trying to send help to the emergencies first, and two, we only have so many 9-1-1 telephone trunks. We want to keep those lines open for emergency calls. If you do have an emergency, the dispatcher will ask you questions to determine who to send. Some of these questions will be:

• Where are you? There are ambulances, fire trucks and police officers all over Culpeper County. We want to send the ones who are closest and can provide the quickest help. We really need an exact address, but sometimes you won’t know that. We will ask for cross streets, what kind of building it is, what color is it and other questions to help us find you as quickly as possible.

• What is going on now? We will ask specific questions related to the situation. Sometimes responders may need special equipment, and not all vehicles carry the same kind of stuff. We want to send you the right help.

While we ask the questions, we are entering the information into a computerized dispatch system. Other dispatchers can see that information and send help to you while we are still talking to you on the phone. Answering questions does not delay response. We will often keep you on the phone and obtain more information to give the responders. For example, it often helps the medics on the ambulance to know what kind of medication the patient takes every day. The patient might be having a breathing problem that is unrelated to the medication, but that information will improve the quality of care the paramedics can provide.

We take over a 200,000 calls a year here at the Culpeper County 9-1-1 Center. The dispatchers keep track of all the responding units and all of the calls waiting for service. Sometimes it is necessary to change the assignment of a unit so they can respond to a different call that is more of an emergency. On our busiest days, some non-emergency calls can wait for a significant amount of time. Please do not hang up, we have not forgotten you, and we are working as fast as we can.

Culpeper County, VA April 12, 2018 – Public safety officials in Culpeper County announced today that Smart911+ Alert is now available to all individuals and families.  Smart911 is a free service that allows individuals to create a Safety Profile for their household that can include any information they may want 9-1-1 call takers and first responders to have in the event of an emergency, then if they need to dial 9-1-1 their Safety Profile will immediately display on the call taker’s screen saving critical seconds and even minutes in response to the emergency. Coupled with Rave Alert individuals can receive notifications on potentially hazardous situations involving weather, traffic and other emergencies.

“Smart911saves critical time in an emergency when seconds count,” said William Martin, E-911 Director.  “The key information provided in a Smart911 Safety Profile enables us to know exactly where we are going and who we are looking for if a child goes missing or there is a house fire, those details can help us respond faster and more efficiently. Sending notifications through Rave Alert allows us to keep the public informed of emergencies and how to be prepared and stay safe.”

 Smart911 allows individuals to create a Safety Profile at for their household that includes any information they want 9-1-1 and response teams to have in the event of an emergency. When a citizen makes an emergency call, their Safety Profile is automatically displayed to the 9-1-1 call taker, allowing them to send the right response teams to the right location with the right information. Responders can be aware of many details they would not have known previously, and now fire crews can arrive at a house fire knowing how many people live in the home and the location of bedrooms, EMS can be advised of allergies or specific medical conditions and police can have the photo of a missing child in seconds rather than minutes or hours.


Individuals can also opt-in for Rave Alert which allows citizens to receive timely and actionable emergency alerts via email, text or voice message on their cell phones. Individuals decide how much information they want to provide when they sign up and it is stored on the Smart911 secure online system. They can also identify when and how they are alerted and communicated with before, during, and after emergencies.


“Citizens will receive notifications that will improve safety in our county and help inform residents of potentially lifesaving actions they may need to take in an emergency,” said Bill Ooten, Director of Emergency Services.  “The information in Smart911 Safety Profiles and the emergency notifications allows both residents and first responders to be better informed in an emergency situation.”

With Smart911 and Alert the community is more aware and better prepared in the event of an emergency. Smart911 enables citizens to link both home and work addresses to mobile phones, which can be passed on to responders in the field for more a detailed, rapid response.  All information is optional and the citizen has the ability to choose what details they would like to include.

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