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 dispatcher window at 295 Ramapo Valley Road.  You should be prepared to present identification and the date of the incident when asked.  Police reports generally take five business days to be ready and it is recommended that you speak to the records clerk prior to you responding to police headquaters to ensure that it is ready to be released.

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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.

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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 201-337-6171 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

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

Police response times are affected by several variables such as:

  • The urgency of the call.
  • 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;

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 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.

The Oakland Police Department makes every effort to arrive at your request for service as soon as possible and has an excellent response time in most incidents. 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 times when the responding officer is delayed in responding to your call.

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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 than you can plainly see. Police officers in uniform driving our distinctive patrol cars are only some of the officers working at any given time. The Oakland Police Department also has officers working in plain clothes and unmarked cars, 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 in 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.

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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 its 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 in 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.

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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 if they need more information.

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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.

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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 Oakland Police Department and all reports of suspected drunk drivers are thoroughly investigated. The Oakland Police Department 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.

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

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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, its 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 Oakland, you may be transferred to the 911 center by the initial call taker. This is because the Oakland Police Department 911 operator is much more familiar with Oakland and the surrounding area and can provide more assistance than the initial call taker. Furthermore, the Oakland Police Department 911 operator will have a direct radio link to responding officers, thereby reducing their response time.

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Can Oakland Police Department help me if I lock my keys in my car?

Oakland Police Department officers will respond to assist people who have locked their keys in their cars only if there is a child or animal locked in the vehicle.

If the above is not the case 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.

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

NO!! Neither the police department nor the policemen’s 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 disperse their funds. NEVER give your credit card information to anyone who calls you on the telephone.

The Oakland PBA Local #164, the union that represents your local police officers, conducts an annual sticker drive through the mail that is recognized by the Borough of Oakland and the Police Department. Again, we will never contact you by telephone and encourage you to contact the Oakland Police Department with any questions or to report any suspicious requests for donations.

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Does the police department do fingerprinting and when can I have it done?

Yes, fingerprinting is available at our Police Headquarters, 295 Ramapo Valley Road.  Please click the link to see our fingerprint information.

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Does the police department offer tours of the police headquarters?

Yes, we offer tours for local youth groups and organizations. Please contact the Chief’s Secretary, Christine Davis to make arrangements at 201-337-6171 extension 1003 or [email protected].

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