Emergency Communications Center (E911)

Emergency Communication plays a vital role in the administration of any law enforcement agency, expediting the handling of assignments and serving as the lifeline for police officers and fire and rescue personnel.

The City of Winchester's Emergency Communications Center (ECC) communications system consists of a base station and mobile or portable units, along with the required antennas, cables, and related items. This system is provided for the official business of the Winchester Police Department and the City of Winchester, with the main responsibility of dispatching emergency service personnel.

The ECC maintains a twenty-four hour enhanced 911 system and online communications with the Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN) and the National Criminal Information Center (NCIC). All radio operations are conducted in accordance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Commonwealth of Virginia requirements.

The Emergency Communications Center is staffed by an ECC director, ECC supervisors, and ECC specialists. ECC duties and responsibilities include operating radio equipment with multiple channels to receive reports and complaints; dispatching mobile law enforcement and fire and rescue units; maintaining the location and status of all mobile units at any given time; operating a multi-line telephone center to receive information, complaints, and requests for assistance; operating twenty-four hour computer terminals to extract information from databases regarding vehicles, items or persons, criminal histories, etc. as requested by department personnel; and assisting walk-in customers to the Timbrook Public Safety Center.

Scheduled tours of the Center are welcome. Please contact ECC Director Erin Malloy to request a scheduled tour. 

How to Call 911

Below are helpful guides to be prepared when calling 9-1-1.

Information for Kids

Information for Seniors

Important numbers to keep on hand:

  • Winchester Police Department: 540-662-4131
  • Frederick County Sheriff’s Office: 540-662-6162
  • Virginia State Police: 1-800-572-2260
  • Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222

When calling 911, you'll be asked the following questions. Be prepared to answer: 

  • Exactly where you are, including the address or nearby buildings.
  • What is the emergency?
  • What is your name?
  • What is your phone number? The dispatcher may need to call back to ask more questions.
  • Describe the person(s) or vehicle(s) involved.
Answer all of the questions and don't hang up until told to do so. 



  • Call if you are having a medical emergency - you are not bothering us. We are here to help you!
  • Keep a list of your medical conditions, medications you take and how much, and any allergies handy for emergency medical services. We'll also ask for your date of birth and an emergency contact person/telephone number.
  • If you accidentally call 911, please don’t hang up. Stay on the phone and tell the 9-1-1 dispatcher that you accidentally dialed and that you do not have an emergency.


Text to 911

Text to 911 is available in the City of Winchester. You should still call if you can, but text if you can't. Like  911 calls, texts should only be sent to 911 during emergencies.

Text to 911 helps those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have limited speech capabilities connect with emergency services. It can also help anyone unable to talk during an emergency like a home invasion or a domestic abuse situation.

Report an Emergency by Text

To report an emergency using Text to 911:

  1. Go to your cell phone text messaging app.
  2. Enter "911" (with no dashes or spaces) in the "To" field. 
  3. The first message should be brief and contain the location of the emergency and type of help needed.
  4. Hit "Send."
  5. Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the dispatcher (911 call taker).
  6. Text in simple words - do not use abbreviations.
  7. Keep text messages brief and concise.

Text to 911 Tips

There are several things to be aware of regarding Text to 911: 

  • It is critical that you know your location. We cannot always identify your location.
  • As with all text messages, 911 messages can take longer to receive, can get out of order, or may not be received.
  • A text or data plan is required to use Text to 911.
  • DO NOT send your message to multiple people in a group text - this will stop the message from reaching our Emergency Communications Center.
  • If you are within an area that does not yet offer Text to 911 service or the service is temporarily unavailable, you will receive a message indicating that texting 911 is not available and to call 911 by other means.
  • Text to 911 can only receive words and punctuation and cannot receive emoticons, emojis, pictures, or videos. Please use plain English when using Text to 911. 
  • Please text in English only. Language interpreting service is not yet available for Text to 911.
  • Do not text and drive.


    Join the ECC

    Do you have what it takes to be a lifeline to hope? Can you be the calm voice during a crisis? Apply today to become an Emergency Communications Specialist with the City of Winchester, the community's connection to emergency assistance. 

    Learn More