How to File a Complaint for Rude 911 Operators

by Natalie Schwab

No matter what situation you're in, calling 911 can be stressful and scary. Because of this, 911 operators are expected to deal with you in a patient manner and with the utmost respect. The last thing you want in an emergency is someone to treat you rudely. If you have had to deal with an ill-mannered 911 operator, you may file a complaint.

In-Person Complaint

Figure out whether you were speaking with police communications or general service communications. If your call required emergency medical or fire response, you were likely speaking with general service communications. If you were dealing with a police matter, you spoke with someone from police communications. This information will make your complaint easier to file.

Visit your local police department and tell the officer at the reception desk that you would like to file a complaint about a 911 operator. Provide the name of the person who you dealt with or the time of the call, if you don't know the name.

Tell the officer exactly what was said on the phone and why you wish to file a complaint.

Online Complaint

Open your Internet browser and search for your local police department's website. For example, if you live in Phoenix, search for Phoenix Police Department.

Search for a "complaints" link. It is often at the bottom of the page. If you cannot locate it, click "edit" and then "find" and type in complaint to locate the word on the page. If nothing comes up on the page, use the website's search field, often at the top right of the page, to search for "complaint."

Follow the instructions given to file an online complaint. Some police departments have an online form that you submit, while others give you an email address where you should send your complaint. Include all information the form requests.

Telephone Complaint

Find the phone number for your local police department in the phone book or online.

Call the department, and tell the person who answers that you would like to file a complaint about a rude 911 operator. Have the necessary information on-hand so that the person you speak to can look up the call (they are all recorded). They can look it up easily by your name or the time of the call.

Tell the officer that you feel you were treated rudely and why. If it is a serious enough matter, they will look up the call and listen for themselves.

About the Author

Natalie Schwab is a professional writer with a bachelor's degree in journalism and business from the University of Arizona. She has copy edited for her university newspaper, the "Arizona Daily Wildcat," conducted legislative research as an intern at Project Vote Smart and reported on the environment for the "Tombstone Epitaph."

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