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Frequently Asked Questions

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Dispatch

Q.

In what situations should you call 9-1-1?

A.

9-1-1 is for emergencies only. You should only dial 9-1-1 if someone is hurt or in danger, or if you are in immediate need of police, fire, or medical assistance. If you aren’t sure if your situation is an emergency, you should err on the side of safety and call 9-1-1 and let the expert who answers your call make the decision whether to send help or not.

Q.

In what situations is it NOT appropriate to call 9-1-1?

A.

Don’t call 9-1-1 because your power or cable is out or because you are traveling and want to know road conditions during bad weather. While those situations may count as emergencies for you, they aren’t for public safety.

Inappropriate use of the 9-1-1 system wastes resources and ties up the lines at the 9-1-1 center, and nobody wants to be on hold when they are in the middle of a real crisis.

Q.

Will dispatch and responders know my location automatically based on my call location?

A.

9-1-1 can be contacted from pretty much every device that can make a phone call (traditional landline, cell phones, VoIP), but the callback and location information that accompanies your call to the 9-1-1 center can vary drastically amongst technologies and between geographic regions.

Q.

What location information do I need to give to the 9-1-1 dispatcher?

A.

This is probably the most important information you can provide as a 9-1-1 caller, so try to be aware of your surroundings. Make a real effort to be as detailed as possible, if you are outside and do not know the street address, take a look around and try to find landmarks or cross streets. If you are inside a large building or one with multiple levels, you can help emergency services by letting them know which floor you are on, which apartment you are in, etc.

Q.

Why is it important to stay calm when calling 9-1-1?

A.

When you are on the phone with 9-1-1, you are their eyes and ears. Even though you may want to, try not to panic. If you are crying or yelling, it can be hard for the 9-1-1 dispatcher to understand you. If you are unable to stay strong, pull yourself together, and answer all of the 9-1-1 dispatcher’s questions, the faster they can get the right services to your location.

Q.

If I call 9-1-1 by accident or no longer need help, should I hang up?

A.

Never hang up. You may have called 9-1-1 by accident, or your situation may have resolved itself, but it is important to let the 9-1-1 dispatcher know this. If you end the call abruptly, the 9-1-1 operator is going to assume that something has gone very wrong and will either call you back or send help anyway.

This will take away from the 9-1-1 center’s ability to take calls and dispatch services to on-going emergencies, so make sure the 9-1-1 dispatcher tells you it is okay to hang up. Keep in mind that the 9-1-1 dispatcher can dispatch responders to your location even with disconnecting from the call, so, until you are instructed to do otherwise, make sure to hold the line so that you can provide any necessary information or assistance to the 9-1-1 dispatcher.

Q.

When can I use Text-to-911?

A.

Call if you can, text if you can’t! Calling 9-1-1 is still the best way to report an emergency. Dispatchers can get vital information more quickly through a voice call. It can also take more time for dispatchers to respond to a text.

Text-to-911 is designed for situations where you cannot speak safely, such as a home invasion, active shooter, or domestic violence incident.

It is also an ideal option for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have difficulty speaking.

Just like 9-1-1 calls, texts to 9-1-1 should only be sent during actual emergencies.

Q.

Who can use Text-to-911?

A.
  • Anyone within Jones County, Iowa.
  • All of the major phone carriers — Verizon, US Cellular, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile — offer text to 9-1-1 service to their wireless customers in Jones County. Depending on the technology and the device used, customers of other carriers may be able to send a text to 911.
  • A text or data plan with a participating carrier is necessary to text to 9-1-1. The type of cell phone you have may also impact your ability to use Text-to-911.

Text-to-911 is not available when roaming. If you attempt to send a text to 9-1-1 where that service is not available or your phone is in roaming status, you should receive a bounce-back message informing you that the service is unavailable.

Q.

What happens when you send a text to 9-1-1?

A.
  • A dispatcher will reply to you by text. Be sure to silence your ringtone if staying quiet is important to your safety.
  • If your text to 911 fails to go through, you will receive a bounce-back message saying the service is not available and instructing you to make a voice call to 9-1-1.

911 call centers cannot identify your exact location when you send a text to 9-1-1.

Carriers treat texts to 9-1-1 like any other text message. Until the Federal Communications Commission sets specific guidelines, texts to 9-1-1 will not receive priority on wireless networks. Emergency texts will also experience the same service speeds and delays as other text messages.

Q.

What information should I include in a text to 9-1-1?

A.
  • Give an accurate address or location as quickly as possible.
  • Identify the type of help you need — police, fire, or ambulance.
  • Be brief, but don’t use abbreviations or slang.
  • Text in English. Translation services are not yet available for texts to 9-1-1.
  • Do not copy other people on texts to 9-1-1. Group messages will not go through.
  • Do not use emoticons or attach photos or videos. Texts with any images or multimedia will not go through.
  • Texts sent to 9-1-1 have the same 160-character limit as other text messages.

Calling 9-1-1 when there is no emergency is against the law. The same applies to texting 9-1-1. Don't "test" it to see if it works. You could tie up resources and prevent someone from receiving the help they need.

Jail

Q.

How do I send mail to an inmate?

A.

How to address inmate mail: 

Inmates Full Name
Jones County Jail
P.O. Box 167
Anamosa, IA 52205

You must have your complete name and return address on the envelope or the mail will not be delivered to the inmate. It will be placed in their property box and they will receive it when they leave. 

The only things that inmates can receive in the mail direct from family or friends are letters, photos, and money orders for commissary.  Any other foreign materials will be removed and placed in the inmate's property tub for when they are released. 

You can have books sent to inmates. They must be new, softcover books only. They must be sent directly from the distributor or bookstore. If family or friends mail the books directly, the books will be placed in the inmate's property tub for when they are released. 

Q.

How do I add money to an inmate's commissary account?

A.

Family and friends can place money in an inmate's commissary account for them to purchase hygiene items. Cash or money orders written out to the inmate will be accepted. We do not take checks or credit cards. These items can either be dropped off in person at the jail during business hours or can be mailed to the inmate. 

Q.

Can I add money to a commissary account for phone calls and texting?

A.

To put money on an inmate's account for phone calls or texting, visit Reliance Telephone's website. For phone billing inquiries, please call 1-800-896-3201. For inmate voice mail, please call (319) 462-3177.

Q.

What are inmate visitation options?

A.

Visitation can be done in two ways. 

FaceTime: If you leave money on the inmate's phone account, they do have the ability to FaceTime directly from their iPod. 

Video Visitation: General video visitation for friends and family will be held at the two kiosks located in the waiting room of the Civil Office in the Sheriff's Department. This is in the basement of the Jones County Courthouse located at 500 W. Main St. in Anamosa. Visitation is held Tuesday through Thursday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. All inmates can receive 2-20-minute visits per week. The inmate must fill out a Visitor Request form prior to the visit that needs to be approved by the Jail Administrator. A visit can consist of two adults and two children as long as the request was approved by the Jail Administrator. The visitor will use the phone located in the Civil Office to call extension 1209 to the jail to enter the visit. The jail staff will give the visitor a pin number that they will enter at the kiosk to connect them with the inmate. 

For general inquiries regarding inmates, please call (319) 462-2720 

Due to COVID-19, video visitation is currently suspended. FaceTime is the only way to visit at this time.

Civil

Q.

Do I need an appointment to apply for or renew my weapons permit?

A.

The Civil office does not require an appointment at this time to apply for or renew your permit. We do currently allow only one person in the office at a time. You may come in any time Monday-Friday from 8a-4p. When you arrive, if there is someone already in the office, you may have a brief wait.

Q.

How soon can I renew my weapon permit?

A.

Permits can be renewed no sooner than 30 days prior to expiration.  Under normal circumstances, you have 30 days prior to expiring or up to 30 days after expiring to be within the $ 25 renewal period. Under Governor Reynolds COVID proclamation if your nonprofessional or professional carry permit expired after February 18, 2020 you are eligible for the $25 renewal for 30 days following the lifting of the proclomation, which is set at this time to be March 7, 2021.

The COVID proclamation also allows an individual with a carry permit that expired after February 18, 2020 to continue to carry until the date the proclamation expires, which is set at this time to be March 7, 2021. Acquire privelage, however, expires  the day the card expires.  

Map · Jones County Sheriff

500 W. Main St. · Anamosa, IA 52205