Non-Emergency Versus 911

Generally speaking, people are aware that they should call 911 in an emergency, but they are less aware of the circumstances in which they should not call 911 and instead utilize Non-Emergency Dispatch. The result is that many requests to 911 do not involve true emergencies, which overloads the 911 system with non-emergency calls. If you are not sure whether you should call 911 or Non-Emergency Dispatch, always air on the side of caution and call 911.

When to Call 911

Only call 911 when a person or property is in immediate danger. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from law enforcement, fire, or medical personnel.

Examples of when to call 911 include:

  • A fire

  • A crime, especially one in progress

  • A car accident, especially if someone is injured

  • A medical emergency, especially for symptoms that require immediate medical attention

When to Call Non-Emergency Dispatch

The Non-Emergency Dispatch number is 417-237-7200, which you can call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for Non-Emergency police help. We encourage residents of our community to program this number into their cell phones so it is ready to use when they need it. Using the Non-Emergency number keeps 911 available for true emergencies. The same call takers who respond to 911 calls also answer the Non-Emergency line. If you call 911 for a non-emergency issue, you will be redirected to hang up and call the Non-Emergency number.

Examples of when to call Non-Emergency Dispatch include:

  • Suspicious activity in your neighborhood, business, or current location

  • Burglaries that are not currently in progress

  • Car accidents with no injuries, not impeding traffic, no drugs or alcohol suspected

  • Vandalization

  • Thefts from auto

  • Cold shoplifts

  • Abandoned vehicles

  • Runaways that have safely returned home

  • Follow ups regarding previously reported incidents