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Palos Park Police Commissioner Dan Polk said that people with problems should call 9-1-1. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Park Police Commissioner Dan Polk said that people with problems should call 9-1-1. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

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Polk insists residents should use 9-1-1 when they need help

By Jeff Vorva

With snowstorms and bad weather hitting the area, first responders and 9-1-1 operators are taxed and stretched out.

But Palos Park Police Commissioner Dan Polk said that should not deter people from calling 9-1-1. He insists on it.

At the Jan. 24 village council meeting, Polk made a passionate speech urging those who are in harm’s way to use service.

“Don’t ever, ever, ever – did I say it enough? – ever hesitate to call 9-1-1 if you find yourself in a spot where you think you need help,” Polk said. “I’ve heard people say ‘well, I didn’t want to bother them.’ Oh, go right ahead. It’s not a bother on our side of the fence.

“What is a bother is when you hear a story where you could have done something, and you weren’t able to do it because no one ever told you that help was needed. Please, if you have a problem, call 9-1-1 and we’ll work it out.”

Some problems are bigger than others, but the commissioner said that all problems can be addressed by 9-1-1 dispatchers, and they have the right resources to help out.

“There is no penalty for calling 9-1-1,” Polk said. “There are no lists of who have inappropriately dialed 9-1-1. We would never have such a list. We would never develop such a list.

“The worst possible thing that could happen is that we say, ‘here is how you are going to deal with that’ and not show up. But I can’t even imagine that scenario. No one is going to say, ‘why are you calling?’

“The dispatcher won’t say it, the police won’t say it.”

Polk also recommends calling from a cellphone rather than a landline.

“Calling 9-1-1 from your cellphone actually helps because there is a lot of embedded electronic information.

“The bottom line is that we can find you if something terrible is going on and for some reason, you can’t call back. You can’t do that on a landline unless you have already given us your address.”

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