311 non-emergency telephone systems have become a viable option for non-emergency call management. The COPS Office supports the use of 311 systems as a method of alleviating the cycle of reactive policing and enhancing community policing efforts. By diverting non-emergency calls from 911 systems, police officers can have more time to engage in community policing activities and respond to citizens with true emergencies. 311 systems can provide citizens with increased access to police and other municipal services, provide avenues for communication and information sharing with police, and can enhance police service delivery.
Since 1996, the COPS Office has awarded more than $6 million in funding to support the implementation, enhancement, and evaluation of 311 non-emergency systems.
Telecommunications Pilot Program (FY'96)
Baltimore (Maryland) Police Department was awarded COPS funding to launch the first 311 system in the country.
311 Technology Grants (FY'99)
COPS funding under this grant program was awarded to establish 311 systems in the following jurisdictions; Baltimore was awarded funding to expand its existing 311 system:
311 Technical Assistance for Start-Ups (FY'00)
Police agencies in these jurisdictions were awarded COPS funding to establish and evaluate 311 systems, providing guidance for others wishing to learn from their experience:
311 for Homeland Security and Crisis Management (FY'03)
Police agencies in these jurisdictions were awarded COPS funding to establish and evaluate 311 systems that incorporated multiple public service agencies and enhanced homeland security and/or crisis management plans and practice:
Examples of non-emergency calls (non-life threatening and does not require an immediate response), include: