The City of Bethlehem operates its Communication
Center at 10 E. Church Street in a secure area of
the Police Department, with an emergency back-up center
located in a separate facility one mile away. The
center has state-of-the-art Enhanced 9-1-1 equipment,
including seven call answering stations and consoles,
telephone equipment, voice activated recorders and
a radio system with multiple radio channels.
Each year, the Communication Center handles approximately
200,000 calls with approximately 50,000 of those calls
coming from 9-1-1.
The City of Bethlehem 9-1-1 Center is the primary
Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) within the geographic
boundaries of the City of Bethlehem. All landline
911 calls within Bethlehem are sent to the Bethlehem
PSAP. Cellphone calls within Bethlehem are pinpointed
by the location of the cellular communications tower
and routed directly to the Bethlehem PSAP. Calls originating
at the edges of our jurisdiction may be routed to
the Bethlehem, Northampton County or the Lehigh County
PSAP. When the exact location of the incident is determined,
the call is then routed to the appropriate PSAP for
The Bethlehem PSAP is an Enhanced 911 center. Caller
location and identity is provided by the enhanced
911 system to allow first responders to provide emergency
service in the fastest and most efficient manner.
The Bethlehem PSAP is TTY capable for hearing impaired
callers. The center also employes multi-lingual dispatchers
and subscribes to an interpreter service for non-English
When to call 911
Call 911 to report police, medical or fire emergencies.
Your calls will be immediately processed and dispatched
without the need for call transfers or secondary communications.
The Communications Specialists will take your information
and determine the need for emergency services. Specialists
within the same room will contact the appropriate
agncy via radio and maintain communications throughout
Specialists within the The Bethlehem PSAP also handles
non-emergency calls for service and calls for the
reporting of past crimes and incidents 24-hours a
day. Callers should dial 610.865.7187 to report non-emergency
How 911 Works
Calls received in the Bethlehem 911 Center are first
handled by a Communications Specialist. They are trained
to verbally verify the nature of the situation, the
caller’s identity and the location of the incident.
The nature of the call will determine whether it will
require the dispatch of police, fire or EMS personnel.
While taking your emergency call, the information
will be entered into a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD)
system. Once in the system, the call is available
for dispatch, but the call-taker will continue to
ask clarifying questions that will assist in the response.
In an emergency, please do not assume that these questions
are delaying our emergency response. In the case of
crimes in progress, many times police units are dispatched
within seconds of the call being received. It is important
to stay on the phone with the call-taker to give as
much information as possible to aid us in our response.
The City of Bethlehem has traditionally dispatched
its own emergency services, such as police, fire,
and EMS. In 1934, the City of Bethlehem had the state’s
very first radio communications system that could
broadcast between a Communications Center and a patrol
vehicle. Before the technological advances that led
to the use of “portable police radios”
in 1965, officers who walked the beat had to rely
on their police whistle to notify other beat officers
of a problem and were required to make regular “check-ins”
to headquarters by utilizing phones at local businesses
along their beat. A single dispatch center was established
in 1972, where until 1989, emergency calls to the
City’s dispatch center were filed by hand utilizing
a seven-digit numbering system. During April 1988,
the City Administration began planning and working
towards instituting the computer aided dispatch and
9-1-1 emergency telephone services within the City.
City representatives met with representatives from
Bell of Pennsylvania and, in 1989, 9-1-1 service supplying
Automatic Number Identification (ANI) went online.
The completion of the system was accomplished during
January 1991, when the Automatic Location Identification
(ALI) portion was initiated. Currently, the enhanced
9-1-1 service providers are working on improving the
ALI system to include automatic identification and
location of 9-1-1 cell phone calls.
The City’s current 9-1-1 Command Center is
a state of the art facility that was completely upgraded
in 2012. In 2009, the City completed a digital radio
system upgrade which greatly enhanced our radio communications
If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact
the Bethlehem Police Director of 9-1-1, Robert Haffner