In 2010 Dispatch was moved from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office to its own building and combined with the other local agencies to now have one Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) servicing the entire county. The Joint Emergency Communications Center (JECC) is located at 4529 Melrose Ave., Iowa City.

911 Facts

911 is only to be used for emergencies

Calls to 911 should be made for, but not limited to: if someone is hurt or in danger, a crime is in progress, suspicious activity or behavior, fires, traffic accidents, medical emergencies, etc.

911 should NOT be used for: checking time and temperature, directory assistance, loss of electricity/cable/water, etc.

The Non-Emergency number to dispatch in Johnson County is (319)-356-6800.

What to know when calling 911

Your name, your location and the nature of the problem.

Your location is extremely important. If you do not know the address of where you are, try to figure out the street name and a cross street (or mile marker). Look for landmarks or business names around you. If you are inside a large building, know which floor you are on, which apartment/suite number, etc. Be as detailed as possible. Cell phones may be able to give us a general idea of where you are, but are not exact.

NEVER HANG UP. Even if you have called 911 on accident, do NOT hang up. Simply tell us that it was an accident. If you hang up, the operator is going to assume that something has gone very wrong and will either call you back or send help anyway. This takes away from true emergencies. Make sure you stay on the line until the operator gives you the okay to hang up.

Be sure to stay calm. You are the eyes and ears for the operator. You need to speak clearly enough for the operator to be able to understand you, and get you the correct assistance that you are in need of.

Emergency 911 Questions

What is enhanced 911?

Enhanced 911 identifies the telephone number and address of the person placing the emergency call from a landline.

How does Enhanced 911 work?

Telephone exchanges have the capability to identify the phone number from which the call is made. A computer database is developed which associates an address with the phone number. When a 911 call is made the caller’s phone number is relayed to the computer which then displays the phone number and address on a video screen for the telecommunicator. Along with this information is what agency should respond (police, fire, and ambulance). 

Johnson County dispatches Sheriff, Coralville Police, North Liberty Police, Johnson County Ambulance (and notifies area ambulance for persons in the NW part of the county), 9 fire departments (Coralville, Hills, Lone Tree, North Liberty, Oxford, Solon, Swisher, Tiffin, West Branch) along with notifying surrounding counties to dispatch fire departments that have jurisdiction in our county.

Will the computer database be confidential?

State law restricts the information to E911 emergency use only. Anyone releasing this information will be subject to legal penalties.

How is enhanced 911 service paid for?

Each landline has a $1.00 surcharge on their phone bill.

What can the money raised by the surcharge be spent for?

Under the state law, the funds received from the surcharge collections can only be spent on updates and equipment used within the PSAP (public safety answering point). No more than 25% of the annual budget can be carried over at the end of the fiscal year.

How will farm locations be identified?

Each farm or rural residence will have a street address, similar to houses in town. Each address outside city limits in the county will have a blue sign placed near the entrance to the drive.

Where do I get a blue rural 911 address sign?

For a new or replacement blue 911 sign, contact Johnson County Planning, Development and Sustainability at 319-356-6083 or e-mail [email protected]. Visit Parcel E911 Addressing for more information on why a sign is needed and how to get a sign.

How will this help emergency responders?

The most important part is that the telecommunicator will have the address information from the computer database and can relay exact address information to the emergency unit(s) responding.

Is there enhanced 911 for cellular phones?

At the present time the information received by the telecommunicator shows the tower location where the call came from. It does not give us a location of the caller. If you use your cellular phone and place an emergency 911 call, you will be asked your location and your name and address.

Who answers your cellular phone call?

Depending on your calling location, your call could be routed to one of many PSAP’s (public safety answering points). You may be in one county placing the call and your phone “hits” a tower in another county, your call could go there. Again, this is why you should know your location when placing a call.

Is there anything in the works for cellular calls to become enhanced?

Yes, at the present the cellular world is working on what is called “Phase 2”. This will provide information on latitude and longitude. PSAP’s will have to have the appropriate mapping capabilities to turn this information into a location that can be relayed to the appropriate authorities.