OPP reminding the public about urgent and non-urgent numbers to call

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A reminder to the public from Essex County OPP when it comes to what numbers to call for urgent and non-urgent help.

An issue has developed where people have been calling for police assistance, but call the main detachment line after hours and leave a message on the answering machine.

The Essex County Detachment phones, including Leamington, Kingsville, Essex, Tecumseh, and Lakeshore are answered Monday-Friday, 8 a.m., - 4 p.m., by administrative staff.

As a result, messages left on those lines after hours are not received until the next day, or in the case of calls left during the weekend, until Monday morning.

Constable Stephanie Moniz says if you have a situation that is not urgent, please call the OPP Communications Centre.

"That will put you in direct contact with a person who will direct and officer to either come to your residence or wherever you are, or to call you back.," she says.

Moniz says if you're calling a detachment and leaving a message on an answering machine, it's not guaranteed someone will get back to you in a timely fashion.

"Your best bet is to call our communications centre, that way they can determine if you need an officer now or as a message to the detachment that can be answered the following day," she says. 

Moniz says if you're calling for paperwork like an accident report, it's fine to leave a message if it's not urgent.

"But if it's something where you see something suspicious or you're reporting an erratic driver, us retrieving the message three days later if not going to help us rectify the situation," she adds.

If a member of the public requires immediate police assistance, they should call 9-1-1. The use of 9-1-1 should always be used for immediate police assistance for emergencies.

If someone has a non-urgent need for police but would still like to speak with or see an officer, they should dial the toll-free number of 1-888-310-1122. This number will connect them to the OPP call-taking centre dispatcher, who in turn will direct the call to a detachment member who is on duty.

Every OPP detachment has a phone located at the front entrance of the detachment which will connect you with the OPP Communications Centre immediately.