Communication plays a vital role in the administration of any law enforcement agency. It expedites the handling of assignments and serves as the lifeline for police officers and fire and rescue personnel. The City of Winchester Emergency Communication 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 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) as well as 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 are welcome. Please call Erin Malloy at the following non-emergency number to request a scheduled tour: (540) 662-4131.
How to Call 911
Below are helpful guides to be prepared when calling 9-1-1.
Important numbers to have:
- EMERGENCIES: CALL 911
- 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
What you need to know when dialing 9-1-1
- Tell 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 if they have further questions.
- Any description of the person or vehicle involved.
- Answer all questions.
- 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, allergies, date of birth, and emergency contact and telephone number.
- AND ALWAYS, in an emergency – DIAL 911.
- If you accidentally call 911, don’t hang up. Stay on the phone and tell the 9-1-1 dispatcher you accidentally dialed it and that you do not have an emergency.
Text to 911
Texting to 911 is available in the City of Winchester. You should call if you can, text if you can't.
Text to 911 helps those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have limited speech capabilities, as well as anyone unable to talk due to an emergency such as a home invasion or a domestic abuse situation.
Like other 911 calls, Text to 911 should only be used for emergencies.
To report an emergency using Text to 911:
- Go to your cell phone text messaging screen.
- Enter "911" (with no dashes or spaces) in the "To" field.
- The first message should be brief and contain the location of the emergency and type of help needed.
- Hit "Send".
- Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the dispatcher (911 call taker).
- Text in simple words - do not use abbreviations.
- Keep text messages brief and concise.
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 place a Text to 911.
- DO NOT send your message to multiple people in a group text as this will stop the message from reaching a 911 Center.
- If you are within an area that does not yet offer Text to 911 services, or 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, emoji, pictures, or videos. Please use plain English when using Text to 911.
- Please text in English only. Language interpreting service is not available for Text to 911 at this time.
- 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 a Communication Specialist with the City of Winchester, the community's connection to police or fire and rescue assistance during an emergency.
EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION CENTER
231 E. Piccadilly Street
Winchester, VA 22601
FOR EMERGENCIES: CALL 911
Non-Emergency: (540) 662-4131