How to contact the police in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

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¬†, not 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!


  1. Reply
    Andrew Justice August 16, 2011

    My chain saw would have made quick work of this small limb…

  2. Reply
    Haydee September 10, 2015

    Thank you so much for this post. I was having the same problem to communicate with
    a police officer and I did it after reading your post. I guess they make it so difficult so
    people don’t bother them with so many calls.

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