Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Internet has flawed stories about emergency cell numbers

QUESTION: I recently received an e-mail from someone in the Northwest, telling me about using *677 on my cell phone. Supposedly one can dial this number if they are being pulled over by an unmarked police car or are uncertain about the officer to verify if the situation is legitimate or tell the officer to follow to a more public place, etc., or send help if the car is bogus. Supposedly this was verified with the Bell system there. Have you heard of such a thing? I hesitate to call just to see what happens. If this is valid, it would be a good idea to have more people know about it.
- S. King

ANSWER: This is a story that has been floating around the Internet in various forms and with incorrect information. Cell numbers connect to highway patrol or state patrol, but the numbers are different from state to state. If you’re trying to contact the Colorado State Patrol it’s star-CSP(*277 or star-DUI (*384) if you spot a suspected drunken driver.

One Internet story reported that *77 is the number for all law-enforcement assistance; in fact this is only in states such as Maine and Virginia, and it’s a nonemergency number. There is a *677, but it’s a Canadian code used only in Ontario.

If there is an emergency or something suspicious that a driver needs to report to law enforcement, including police, sheriff’s department or state patrol, call 911


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