Residents of Menifee who need emergency services now have an alternate number they can use to call for help using their mobile phones, which may be faster than 911.

According to Menifee Police Capt. Dave Gutierrez, the new number — 951-894-6530 — was specifically established to prevent delays in contacting the city’s dispatch center.

Gutierrez said cell phone users are routinely routed through the California Highway Patrol when they call 911, translating to a “short transfer delay” when precious seconds count.

“Reaching CHP happens due to the location of cell towers,” he said. “The cell tower system uses information from the primary cell tower, cell tower triangulation and GPS information from the cell phone. Although this technology is amazing, if the 911 caller is on or near a freeway, there is a high likelihood the call will be routed to CHP.”

To avoid going through the CHP, the direct dial number is now available to anyone within city limits who needs emergency services.

“The number will be answered in the same manner as our existing 911 lines,” Gutierrez said.

He reminded residents that the non-emergency number, 951-677-4964, remains available, and callers can continue to utilize 911 if they desire.

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