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911 Dispatch

The City of Colstrip Dispatch Center is the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for 911 calls placed in the City of Colstrip and surrounding areas. Dispatching is provided for Colstrip police officers, fire departments, EMS, and other public safety agencies.

The Colstrip Police Department assumed the responsibility for the 9-1-1 Emergency Center in September 2004. The  9-1-1 Center staff numbers five employees, who are trained in emergency dispatch procedures.


The Center handles all emergency 9-1-1 calls in the Colstrip area and dispatches police, fire, and ambulance personnel. In addition, the dispatchers monitor air traffic communications in and out of the Colstrip airport. The  9-1-1 Center is truly a lifeline for the community.


The City of Colstrip 911 Dispatch Center Staff consists of 4 full-time dispatchers and 1 part-time dispatcher.

How do I know when to dial 911? Anytime you find yourself in a situation that requires an emergency response from a law enforcement agency, a fire department, or an ambulance service you should call 911. As a general rule, if you face a situation where you are trying to decide whether to dial 911 or not, DIAL 911. It is always better to be safe than risk the chance of not getting the help you need when you need it.

If you have a situation that you need to report, but an incident is a past event and non-threatening (not in progress, suspects are unknown or not seen), i.e., theft of personal property, past criminal mischief/vandalism, a theft from an auto that occurred during the night, then you may want to contact the law enforcement agency to report the incident by calling in on the Colstrip Police Department at (406)-748-2211 or the Rosebud County Sheriff at (406)-346-2715. Again, anytime you are unsure of when to dial 911, it is always better to dial 911 than risk not getting help when you need it.

What can I expect when I call 911? When you dial 911, your call will be answered by a 911 Dispatcher. The dispatcher will conduct an interview to determine the type of emergency service needed. Questions generally asked to fall into key questions of WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, and depending on the situation, WHY. It’s important to listen to the dispatcher and answer the questions asked. The dispatcher must ask you specific questions in order to ensure you receive the kind of help needed. It may seem that you are asked a lot of questions and that a lot of time has passed, however, trained dispatchers will only ask questions that are necessary for getting you the proper help you need. This generally takes less than 30-45 seconds. Often times the dispatcher will start emergency response units and will return to ask the follow-up questions.) The main objective is to remain calm and listen to the dispatcher’s instructions…help is on the way.

What happens if I accidentally dial 911? Misdials are sometimes experienced on 911. Often many misdials are realized after the number is dialed and the caller will immediately disconnect the line. This is what is commonly referred to as a “911 hangup”. If a connection was made, regardless of whether the line was not answered by the 911 operator, the PSAP will still receive the call. It is very important to remain on the line, even if you realize you misdialed. If you disconnect the line, the 911 operator must process the call as an unknown emergency, until otherwise determined.

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