A rainstorm pushed through the city yesterday which had some high winds for about 10 minutes. I stepped outside to enjoy the scene when I heard a cracking noise. Looking down the street towards the noise I watched as a large tree limb fell into the street. My first instinct was to call the city police. The number I had in my phone for Harrisburg City Police was 717-255-3131. I called that number and heard a message that the mailbox was full. A few minutes later I called back and after several phone menus was prompted to type in the name of the officer I was trying to reach. This didn’t help as I was simply trying to reach ANYONE.
Taking a look at the Harrisburg City website you’ll notice first that the URL goes to http://pl1462.pairlitesite.com/, not http://www.harrisburgpa.gov as it once did. But that is the least of our worries. We’re looking for a phone number for the police department. If you have an annoying popup that asks you to come enjoy Kapona festival, just close it.
There is a link to the right of the site for the City of Harrisburg Police Bureau. I would expect to at least find a phone number there so that I can call the police to let them know a tree is down blocking a street. But no, there is no phone number listed.
Being the geek I am, I resort to Twitter and ask the Harrisburg Twitterati for help. The response was to call 911. Seems odd to me as this was not an emergency. But I resorted to dialing 911 and explained that this was not an emergency and that I was simply trying to reach the Harrisburg Police Department. The person on the other line told me to dial 717-558-6900 which is the Dauphin County Dispatch phone number. Sure enough that did the trick and a few minutes later a police officer arrived on the scene.
That’s not to say the police officer did anything while he was there. He sat there for a few minutes, then drove away. The neighbors cleaned most of the tree limbs off the street themselves.
All I ask is that the city of Harrisburg make their website more accessible and list phone numbers for ALL public departments. You’re leaving the citizens in the dark here!