An urban legendhas circulated since 2002 claiming that motorists can dial #77 or *77 to reach the police, or to determine if the unmarked police car behind them is a real "Officer of the Law" or .... etc. As you can see from the map at http://www.911dispatch.com/911/mobilenumbers.html , #77/*77 is NOT the universal number for the police. Law enforcement recommends you either dial 911 or determine your state's local highway emergency or special circumstance number.
So, if you encounter an unmarked vehicle with flahing lights trying to pull you over, call 911 or your local Highway Notification Number (see below) to determine if it is an officer of the law, before you pull over.
http://www.911dispatch.com/911/mobilenumbers.html Highway Notification Numbers Original source: Missouri Highway Patrol, Dispatch Magazine on-line Updated 9/12/2008
Although 911 has been designated as the "official" number for reporting emergencies in the United States, manyother numbers have been implemented for reporting highway situations: accidents, intoxicated drivers (DUIs), or disabled vehicles. In most cases, dialing these special numbers routes the call to the agency with jurisdiction over the state highways or Interstates, rather than to the local law enforcement agency.
This map does not depict which states allow 911 dialing from wireless phones to report an emergency. Instead, this map show other telephone numbers established by the states to reach a state-level law enforcement agency to report highway situations, some of which could be considered "urgent."
Confusingly, calls to these numbers may also be routed to the same agency that handles emergencies for the highway, resulting in their use by motorists for actual emergencies.
Take Kansas: they have 911 service that reaches local or county agencies, but the Kansas Highway Patrol advertises three numbers: 911, *HP (to reach the Highway Patrol directly) and *KTA (to reach the Highway Patrol for turnpike-related matters).
And continuing the confusion, if you're traveling adjacent to a state boundary such as Virginia, Maryland and DC, dialing one of these special numbers could connect you with... well, who knows which state or agency you'd hear on the phone? That's the disadvantage of non-standard numbers, and of wireless phones whose signal can go in all directions.
This map was originally developed by the Missouri Highway Patrol, and has been periodically updated by DISPATCH Magazine On-Line. Let us know of any errors or changes.
Some of the alternate uses for the above numbers include:
- The Iowa State Patrol Web site for a list of mobile emergency numbers.
- Nextel has a list of # and * associated numbers for highway assistance.
- We have a report that Colorado also has the number *CSP for reaching the State Patrol from wireless phones.
- In Kansas, motorists can dial *KTA while on the turnpike.
- In Illinois, the number *999 number is operated jointly by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and the state's DOT, and is intended for "emergencies," which the Authority defines generally as being "stranded" on the tollway.
- On the Indiana toll-road, *11 reaches the state police
- In Louisiana, *24 reaches the Coast Guard
- Dialing *555 in Prince George's and Montgomery County (Md.) reaches the Park Police
- Dialing *11 reaches Emergency Operations for the Pennsylvania Turnpike
- Dialing *ISP in Idaho is intended to report DUI drivers.
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