Police Frequently Asked Questions


 How do I obtain a copy of a police report?

You can get a copy of the report by going to the Records Bureau located next to the Police window at 200 South Street.  You should be prepared to present identification and the police report number when asked.  Police reports generally take between 4 to 5 working days to be ready for pickup so calling ahead is recommended at 973-292-6621.

 Do I have to come to the police station to make a report?

No, you do not have to come into the police station in order to make a report as long as you are in Morristown.  However, if you are not in Morristown, we will be unable to assist you with taking a report and you may have to go to the local police station. As always, if you are trying to report an emergency condition, call 911 immediately.

 Can I make a police report over the telephone?

No, all police reports must be made in person and no information can be taken over the telephone.

 Can the police help me with a dispute with my landlord?

A dispute between a landlord and a tenant is a civil matter and therefore the police cannot intervene.  The police will only keep the peace at the scene and explain to each party their rights in the situation and the proper avenues to resolve the dispute.

 What should I do if I'm pulled over by the police?

For many people, being pulled over by a Police Officer while driving in your car can be an extremely stressful event.

If a Police car pulls in behind you while driving and activates it's emergency lights and/or siren, you should pull over to the side of the road as soon as it is safe.  Once you have pulled over, you should put the car in park and turn on the interior light.  This is for your safety as well as the safety of the Officer.

You have to remember that although you know you are a decent, law abiding citizen, the Police Officer behind you has no idea who you are and will be naturally cautious as numerous Officers are hurt and even killed each year during "routine" traffic stops.  When approached by the Officer, you will be asked for you driver's license, vehicle registration card and proof of insurance for the car. 

If you need to enter the glove compartment to retrieve the documents, just tell the Officer what you are doing and proceed to get your documents when instructed.  

In order to make this traffic stop as safe and pleasant as possible for all involved, here are a few tips:

  • Do not make any sudden or violent movements.
  • Do not suddenly conceal or hide your hands.
  • Remain in the vehicle unless instructed to exit by the Officer.
As soon as the Officer has your documents, he will explain the reason for the traffic stop and may give a verbal warning, a written warning or issue you a traffic summons.  If you have any questions, the Officer will attempt to answer them at the scene and will also provide you with the number for the Municipal Violations Bureau which is located on the back of the summons.

 If I want to report something that is not an emergency, do I call 911 or another number?

Call 911 for anything related to an emergency such as:

  • a crime that is occurring now
  • a car crash
  • a possible drunk driver
  • life threatening medical emergencies

Call 973-538-2200 for all non-emergency related calls such as:

  • offenses that occurred in the past
  • non life threatening traffic concerns
  • non urgent requests for police service

 Why does it take officers longer to respond to some calls than others?

Police response times are affected by several variables such as:
  • The time of day the call is received;
  • The number of calls for service at any given moment;
  • The number of officers needed at a given call for service;
  • The urgency of the call.
All requests for law enforcement service are assigned a priority based on the seriousness of the incident and the potential for injury or damage to property. At times, calls of less urgent natures must be delayed so that officers can respond immediately to emergencies.

At times, people may wonder why it seemed to take a long time for officers to arrive on the scene of a crime such as a robbery that just occurred where the perpetrator is making a getaway. The reason for this delay is that officers are:
  • Working to cut off escape routes;
  • Securing perimeters of the area in case a K-9 track is required;
  • Stopping suspicious vehicles leaving the area;
  • Checking neighboring streets and and structures in an attempt to catch the actor.
The urgency of this type of call is not in responding to the scene as much as it is to trap and catch the fleeing suspect.

MPD makes every effort to arrive at your request for service as soon as possible and has an excellent time response in most incidents. As our officers are assigned a geographic area of the town to patrol, an officer is usually in the area of any dispatched call and can be on the scene almost immediately.

We thank you for your patience and understanding if you happen to call during one of those situations where the responding officer is delayed in responding to your call.

 Why don't I see more officers patrolling my neighborhood?

At any given moment in the day or night, there are more officers in your community that you can plainly see. Police officers in uniform driving our distinctive black and white patrol cars are only some of the officers working at any given time. MPD also has officers working in plain clothes and un-marked cars, bicycle officers, and administrative staff that supplement the road patrol officers when needed.

In addition, uniformed patrol officers are often in your neighborhood at times when you would not necessarily see them, such as peak times of criminal activity which may be when you are at work or asleep. If any area or neighborhood begins to experience an increase of crime or becomes the victim of a specific crime trend, specialized units and resources will be deployed to deal with the problem until order is restored.

 Why do the 911 operators ask so many questions when I call?

Call takers are trained to get as much information as possible to best determine the nature of the problem and it's seriousness. For the safety of the community and the responding police officers, it is critical that the call taker gets as much information as possible from the caller. On emergency calls, the officer is usually already en route to the scene while the call taker is still gathering additional information from the caller. That additional information is being radioed to the responding officers while they are driving to the scene.

We thank you for your cooperation in answering the questions necessary for the responding officers to best assist you with your situation.

 Can I call the police department to report a problem and still remain anonymous?

Yes you can. There is no requirement to give your name or address when making a call to the police department. However, it is extremely helpful if the responding officer has someone to contact either in person or by telephone to get more specific information to effectively address the problem.

Many times officers respond to an anonymous call about an incident and either cannot find the origin of the problem with the information given or the situation changes prior to their arrival but they have no way of knowing that. This can result in frustrated officers and the citizen feeling that the police department didn't do anything about their call.

We realize that in some circumstances, a person may not want neighbors to know that they have called the police and they don't want an officer to come to their door. However, something as simple as a telephone number by which to reach the complainant can make a significant difference in whether or not a situation is corrected or goes undiscovered or unidentified. You merely inform the call taker that you do not wish to be contacted in person but that the officer may call you in they need more information.

 Is there a waiting period before I can report somebody as missing?

This is a common misconception. The answer is NO! The moment that you are concerned about a person's whereabouts is the time to call. You can make a missing person report anytime you realize that someone is missing.

 What is the police department doing about getting drunk drivers off our streets?

D.W.I. enforcement has always been a paramount issue for the Morristown Police Department and all reports of suspected drunk drivers are thoroughly investigated. MPD has dedicated Traffic Safety Officers assigned to each shift who are primarily responsible for enforcing all traffic laws. In addition, MPD strives to provide all patrol officers with continued training and education in the detection and prosecution of drunk drivers to ensure that all our officers are ready to deal with such incidents.

Furthermore, the Morristown Police Department has been active in seeking grants to supply additional officers on the streets during peak times for drunk driving offenses. These officers patrol in marked police cars specifically targeting those who choose to drink and drive.

As you can see, a person who decides to drink and drive in Morristown is making a foolish decision.

 Can I use 911 on my cellphone to report an emergency or drunk driver on the road?

Yes. Calls to 911 from cellphones are free. However, please do not try to pursue a drunk driver or place yourself in any danger. Keep a safe distance from the suspected drunk driver. When you call 911, you will be asked to provide a description of the car, it's location and direction. Police officers will be dispatched to the area and will take care of the rest.

If you are calling to report an emergency, it is important to note that ALL 911 calls from cellular phones in New Jersey are answered by call takers from the New Jersey State Police. If you are reporting an incident which is occurring in Morristown, you may be transferred to the 911 center at Morristown Police Headquarters by the initial call taker. This is because the MPD 911 operator is much more familiar with Morristown and the surrounding area and can provide more assistance than the initial call taker. Furthermore, the MPD 911 operator will have a direct radio link to responding officers, thereby reducing their response time.

 Can MPD help me if I lock my keys in my car?

As of this moment, MPD officers will respond to assist people who have locked their keys in their cars. You will be required to read and sign a waiver form acknowledging that damage may be caused to the car during attempts to gain entry and agree that you will not hold MPD or the Town of Morristown liable for any such damage.

If you decide that you would rather not risk causing damage to your car, you can call any licensed locksmith who will be able to open your car for a fee. Also, if you are a member of any automobile assistance plans such as AAA, you may be covered for such a situation and should contact them directly.

If a child or pet is trapped inside the vehicle, make sure to notify the dispatcher so that the proper resources may be dispatched immediately.

 Does the police department ever contact citizens asking for donations over the phone?

NO... Neither the police department or the policemens benevolent association (the police officer's union) will ever contact you by telephone to ask for donations. Furthermore, the police department does not receive funds from any of the organizations that contact you by telephone. If you are not familiar with the organization calling you and asking for a donation, you may wish to ask the caller to send you information on their charity and how they dispurse their funds. NEVER give your credit card information to anyone who calls you on the telephone.

Morristown PBA Local #43, the union that represents your local police officers, conducts an annual sticker drive through the mail that is recognized by the Town of Morristown and the Police Department. Again, we will never contact you by telephone and encourage you to contact MPD with any questions or to report any suspicious requests for donations.