Calling 911 and Using Cell Phones
When someone calls 911 from a LAND LINE phone (home phone), the dispatcher is provided with a name, phone number, and precise location of the call.
However, when someone calls 911 from a cell phone WITH A PLAN, the dispatcher is provided with the phone number of the cell phone and the address of the tower through which the call is routed. That’s it. They may be able to find your address/name if you’ve called them before from the same number and a report was filed, but they do not receive your home address automatically.
AND… when calling from a “911 cell phone” with no plan (an “uninitiated cell phone”), dispatch will get ONLY the address of the tower. No phone number, no name.
IF the cell phone has an active GPS chip (whether the phone has a plan or not), they may get an address of the caller’s location, but it is often not exact. For example, it might give an address three houses away from the caller. The technology is new and not very reliable. Be aware that a name NEVER comes up at dispatch when you’re calling from a cell phone.
So in summary, there are limitations, whether you are using your own cell phone or a 911 phone. If you’re calling from a cell phone (ANY cell phone) you cannot assume the police will be able to find you. You should be prepared to give detailed information to the dispatcher whenever possible if you need them to locate you. Cell phones simply can’t provide the information yet that land lines can.
It is important that you know the address of the place that you are calling from, or nearby landmarks, so that emergency workers can find you as quickly as possible.
It is also beneficial to know the addresses that your significant other would possibly take you. Example: Parents’, Siblings’, Friends’ homes- basically anywhere you could potentially be assaulted. Knowing these addresses also helps when you are seeking a Protection Order. On the Protection Order forms there is a place where you will need to fill in your abuser’s address so that s/he can be served.
Teaching your children to call 911 and teaching them their address should always be included in your safety planning.
Protective Orders and No Contact Orders
This is a civil order and is not connected to the criminal court. In order to apply for a protective order in Indiana, the petitioner needs to have been a victim of:
- domestic or family violence;
- stalking; or
- a sex offense.
- Any court of record in any of the following jurisdictions can issue a civil order of protection:
- county where petitioner currently or temporarily resides;
- county where respondent (perpetrator) resides; or
- county where offense occurred.
There is no fee for filing a petition for an order of protection in Indiana.
No law enforcement report is required in order to petition for a protective order. Protective Orders are a civil matter, whereas a police report is a criminal matter.
Only the Court can nullify an order of protection. Neither the perpetrator nor the victim can do so by ignoring the order, violating the order or any other evasive behavior. The following language is required to appear in every Indiana Order of Protection:
“Violation of this order is punishable by confinement in jail, prison, and/or a fine. If so ordered by the Court, the respondent is forbidden to enter or stay at the petitioner’s residence, even if invited to do so by the petitioner or any other person. In no event is the order for protection voided.”
Protective Order paperwork may be obtained from the County Clerk’s office at the courthouse or from Crisis Connection, Inc. (CCI). Personnel within the clerk’s office may assist with the completion of this paperwork, or a CCI advocate will be happy to assist you if help is needed. The completed protective order forms must be submitted to the Court Clerk during the hours of office operation (generally 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM).
The Judge will review the petition at his/her earliest convenience and will decide to sign or reject the petition. Either way, the petitioner (victim) will be notified by the Court Clerk of the Judge’s decision, and the paperwork can be picked up at the Court Clerk’s office. Once the Judge has signed the petition, it is valid; however, the petition will not be enforceable until it has been served on the respondent (perpetrator) by a deputy sheriff. Petitioners are advised to keep several copies of the valid order in various locations, and always have one copy with them.
The Sheriff’s Department in each county picks up summons, orders, subpoenas, etc., from the Court Clerk every business day, usually in the morning and again before closing. If the PO has been signed and certified by the Court, it will be in the outgoing box for the deputy to take. The Sheriff’s Department is the only agency that is authorized to formally serve this document upon the respondent. A deputy will serve the document as time allows between his other duties. The victim has the right to call the Sheriff’s Department each morning to ask if the PO was served on the respondent the night before. If the department states that they do not have the paperwork yet, the victim should call the Court Clerk’s office and inquire when the paperwork might be ready for pickup by the deputy.
The petitioner must appear in court on the date set by the Court. The respondent will also be ordered to appear; however, the respondent did not request the civil order, therefore, if s/he does not choose to appear, the Court will proceed without him/her. If the respondent waives his/her right to appear, another opportunity will not be given and the petition will generally be granted as requested by the petitioner.
Violations of a PO should be reported to law enforcement. If the responding officer determines that there is probable cause that the order has been violated, the respondent may be arrested on a misdemeanor charge of invasion of privacy. If the respondent has previously been convicted of invasion of privacy, s/he may be arrested on a Level 6 felony. If the violation consists of battery or intimidation, stalking or trespass, additional criminal charges can be filed against him/her.
There is no need for the petitioner to hire an attorney when filing a PO. The paperwork can be comfortably completed with minimal assistance from a victim’s advocate. The Prosecutor’s office does not assist with protective orders. Protective orders are civil; the Prosecutor’s office deals with criminal matters only.
NO CONTACT ORDERS
A No Contact Order (NCO) is not a civil order. It can only be issued in a CHINS (child in need of services), delinquency, or criminal case. NCOs are not limited to family/household members, stalking or sex offenses as are POs.
NCOs are often ordered by the Judge in connection with criminal cases to protect the alleged victim from the defendant. No action is required by the victim. If the perpetrator of a crime is arrested immediately and taken before a judge soon thereafter, a NCO will take the place of a PO. If there is a lag between the offense and any court action, the victim is advised to begin the process of obtaining a PO. It is not necessary to have a NCO and a PO, as they offer the same protections. The NCO, as part of the criminal case, will take effect immediately and does not require the victim to fill out paperwork. However, the NCO is only valid for the length of the criminal proceedings. A PO will remain in effect until its expiration date (usually two years).