By Officer Larry Jacobs

When should you call 911?

That’s easy. Call when you see or hear something that seems out of the ordinary and those little hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

I have had people call or email me several days after they spotted something suspicious in their neighborhood.  This is a good thing to do, but a better thing to do is to call 911 immediately so our officers can respond quickly, while the activity is still going on.

Here it is in a nutshell:  Sandy Springs has a full time population of roughly 94,000 people.  During a business weekday, the population can be as high as 300,000.  The Sandy Springs Police Department has 127 full time, 10 part time and 4 reserve police officers.  The SSPD needs the help of its citizens to spot suspicious behavior.  You are the extra set of eyes and ears that we depend on to let us know about crime in your neck of the woods.

Now, calling 911 is not just for suspicious activity. It’s also if you need an ambulance or the Fire Department.  Our 911 call takers are very well trained and will ask you the necessary questions in order to determine which emergency service you need.  The key is to stay calm, stay on the line and answer the call taker’s questions.

If you happen to call 911 by mistake and hang up, wait for them to call you back.  It is the practice of our 911 call center to call back every 911 hang-up call.

You should always know where you are.  Sounds funny, but we have people who try to do a good thing by reporting an accident they see on I-285 near Riverside Drive, but in actuality, the accident is on Ga. 400 near Northridge Road.

Teach your children to call 911 from your home phone and cellphone.  Make sure your child can physically reach at least one phone in your home.  Make sure they know their names, their parents’  names, their telephone number and their address.

Prank 911 calls waste time and are illegal in Georgia.  The Sandy Springs Police Department does not take prank calls lightly and will file criminal charges if necessary.

Officer Larry Jacobs is the Crime Prevention Officer for the Sandy Springs Police Department.  He can be reached directly at

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.