Sheriff's Office

911 Division of Communications

24 hour NON-Emergency Numbers

Bemidji Police Department
Beltrami County Sheriff's Office


Blackduck Police Department
1-888-449-9111 (non-county toll free)
218-333-9111 (local)


When to Call 911

Calling 911: Call 911 when you need direct access to police, fire and medical assistance.

In an emergency: Call 911 to report a crime in progress, a fire, a serious illness or injury, a reckless vehicle endangering citizens, vehicle crash involving injuries, or any situation requiring immediate response of the police, fire or ambulance services. Stay on the line until a 911 Dispatcher answers your call. Do not hang up and redial. This will restart the process of sending your 911 call to the correct PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point).

In a non-emergency: Call 333-9111 when you have a less threatening situation which requires a non-immediate response from police, fire or ambulance such as noise/parking/minor traffic complaints.

What the 911 Call Taker needs to know: Speak slowly and clearly.

The Call Taker will ask many questions including:

  The address where help is needed
  The nature of the problem
  Weapons involved
  Your name
  Your phone number

  • Do NOT call 911 for: road/travel information, legal advice, civil matters, telephone directory assistance or requesting transportation. Your telephone directory has these numbers OR you can dial 211, a free service with those numbers available to you.

Important:  Call 911 first in all emergency situations!!!

  • Do not call family members or friends.
  • Do not attempt to transport a seriously ill or injured person!!!
  • We can get qualified help to the victim much faster and safer than you can get the victim help!
  • Stay on the phone and answer all of the questions. Do not hang up until told to do so. Help is on the way as you are speaking.


Unintentional 911 Calls

Many false calls are generated to 911 due to cell phones being auto programmed or pre-programmed with a one button emergency feature to dial 911.
What Can You Do?
Disable Emergency Buttons.  Check your user manual or contact your service provider to find out if your wireless phone has a pre-programmed emergency 911 button.  If it does, find out how to disable it.
Lock Your Keypad.  Most wireless phones have a feature that locks or disables the keypad to prevent accidental dialing.  Get in the habit of using it.
Don't Hang Up.  If you realize you have accidentally called 911, please stay on the line until the call taker answers.  You will save the call taker several valuable minutes by explaining that you accidentally dialed the wrong number rather than the call taker having to call you back to see if there's a problem. 

Know where you are

Not all cellular providers are equipped  to provide precise location information of a wireless 911 call to a 911 call center.  Therefore, it is important to note the following when making a 911 call from wireless phone:

Provide your EXACT location:

The city you are in
The name of the road you are on
Cross streets
Major buildings
Mile marker signs
What towns are you traveling between
Any landmarks that you recognize

Know and be prepared to provide your wireless phone number, including area code, and your name.

Text-to-911 is now available in Minnesota.  Sending a text message to 911 is intended to be used only for emergencies.  It is not a “tip line”.  Whenever possible, we would rather have a voice conversation.  “Call when you can, text when you can’t.”  Text-to-911 is available for situations when placing a voice call may put the caller in danger or when there isn’t adequate service for a voice call.  You should be prepared to provide your information including your address/location and what city.  Beltrami County processes text-to-911’s for several counties in Northwestern Minnesota.

911 Address - No longer called a Fire Number

The term "fire number" is obsolete and is no longer used.  The house number and road name is now the "address" or "911 address number".  In Beltrami County, all 911 address number signs (your address) are in white lettering with a blue background.  It is very important that you are using your assigned address and not what you formerly used as an address, prior to the updating to full 911 addressing approximately 15 years ago in Beltrami County. Complete a 911 Address Application and visit the GIS Office for more information.

How to Report a Damaged or Missing Blue Number Sign

Blue address signs or intersection signs missing or damaged should be reported to the Beltrami County E911 GIS office at 218-333-8457 or Beltrami County Highway Department at 333-8173.   


The three-digit telephone number "911" has been designated as the "Universal Emergency Number," for citizens throughout the United States to request emergency assistance. It is intended as a nationwide telephone number and gives the public fast and easy access to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).

In the United States, the first catalyst for a nationwide emergency telephone number was in 1957, when the National Association of Fire Chiefs recommended use of a single number for reporting fires.

In 1967, the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice recommended that a "single number should be established" nationwide for reporting emergency situations. The use of different telephone numbers for each type of emergency was determined to be contrary to the purpose of a single, universal number.

Other Federal Government Agencies and various governmental officials also supported and encouraged the recommendation. As a result of the immense interest in this issue, the President's Commission on Civil Disorders turned to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a solution.

In November 1967, the FCC met with the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) to find a means of establishing a universal emergency number that could be implemented quickly. In 1968, AT&T announced that it would establish the digits 9-1-1 (nine-one-one) as the emergency code throughout the United States.

The code 9-1-1 was chosen because it best fit the needs of all parties involved. First, and most important, it met public requirements because it is brief, easily remembered, and can be dialed quickly. Second, because it is a unique number, never having been authorized as an office code, area code, or service code, it best met the long range numbering plans and switching configurations of the telephone industry.

Congress backed AT&T's proposal and passed legislation allowing use of only the numbers 9-1-1 when creating a single emergency calling service, thereby making 9-1-1 a standard emergency number nationwide. A Bell System policy was established to absorb the cost of central office modifications and any additions necessary to accommodate the 9-1-1 code as part of the general rate base.

With Enhanced 9-1-1, or E9-1-1, local PSAPs are responsible for paying network trunking costs according to tariffed rates, and for purchasing telephone answering equipment from the vendor of their choice.

On February 16, 1968, Senator Rankin Fite completed the first 9-1-1 call made in the United States in Haleyville, Alabama. The serving telephone company was then Alabama Telephone Company. This Haleyville 9-1-1 system is still in operation today.

On February 22, 1968, Nome, Alaska implemented 9-1-1 service.

In March 1973, the White House's Office of Telecommunications issued a national policy statement which recognized the benefits of 9-1-1, encouraged the nationwide adoption of 9-1-1, and provided for the establishment of a Federal Information Center to assist units of government in planning and implementation.

The intense interest in the concept of 9-1-1 can be attributed primarily to the recognition of characteristics of modern society, i.e., increased incidences of crimes, accidents, and medical emergencies, inadequacy of existing emergency reporting methods, and the continued growth and mobility of the population.

In the early 1970s, AT&T began the development of sophisticated features for the 9-1-1 with a pilot program in Alameda County, California. The feature was "selective call routing." This pilot program supported the theory behind the Executive Office of Telecommunication's Policy.

By the end of 1976, 9-1-1 was serving about 17% of the population of the United States. In 1979, approximately 26% of the population of the United States had 9-1-1 service, and nine states had enacted 9-1-1 legislation. At this time, 9-1-1 service was growing at the rate of 70 new systems per year. By 1987, those figures had grown to indicate that 50% of the US population had access to 9-1-1 emergency service numbers.

In addition, Canada recognized the advantages of a single emergency number and chose to adopt 9-1-1 rather than use a different means of emergency reporting service, thus unifying the concept and giving 9-1-1 international stature.

  • At the end of the 20th century, nearly 93% of the population of the United States was covered by some type of 9-1-1 service. Ninety-five percent of that coverage was Enhanced 9-1-1. Approximately 96% of the geographic US is covered by some type of 9-1-1.

Helpful Links:

American Red Cross

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

MN Department of Health

Homeland Security