Law Enforcement's Role in Street Addresses

By Ruggeri, Eric | Law & Order, September 2003 | Go to article overview

Law Enforcement's Role in Street Addresses

Ruggeri, Eric, Law & Order

A uniform municipal frontage-based addressing system is a key part of any 911-emergency communications system. Normally the task of municipal street addressing is assigned at the county level but in some large urban areas it may be undertaken by the city or even state level. In even other areas, the addressing system is managed by the local law enforcement agency.

In order for an Enhanced 911 (E911) system to operate properly, the municipal addressing database must be in place and free of errors as much as possible. Enhanced 911 is a computer based system that automatically links the dialer's telephone number to its associated civic address which is then forwarded to the emergency dispatcher, all within seconds. If this civic address, also referred to as automatic location identification, or ALI, is incorrect or insufficient, a delay in the response of emergency service providers occurs.

The common method of giving directions to a rural home in the past was, "Turn right on the first gravel road past the barn that burned down last summer and we are the second home past the red brick one." This ambiguous description was open to interpretation and necessitated some local knowledge of the area to find a property. To simply be able to say, "We are located at 1240 Dorchester Road" is a much more efficient and precise method of sending emergency assistance and lessens errors.

While this article is designed from a maintenance perspective for those areas that already have an E911 system in place, it can be used as a preceptor tool for those areas preparing to start E911 service. An ideal municipal addressing system must provide a physical street address to each land parcel, lot, business, commonplace and residence in the system's response area.

Whether or not telephone service is currently in place on an effected land parcel is irrelevant and must be considered for future expansion. The addressing system must provide the means by which police, fire and EMS can find every location in the respective county or city at all times of the day and in inclement weather conditions.

Street Signage and Address Posting

One part of maintaining any municipal addressing system is to ensure the addresses and any changes are correctly posted. This normally requires the passage of a local ordinance or county by-law to be enforced. It is usually a good idea to permit law enforcement officials to enforce postings through citations; however, some larger areas rely on city or codes enforcement or engineering departments to monitor it.

Street signs are suggested to be constructed of reflectorized aluminum signs with vinyl overlay and installed on a five-foot-high post. It is also a good practice to use a different color-combination street sign than any bordering municipalities are currently using. This makes it easy to recognize the change in any municipality borders when they are not normally clear. In certain new construction, municipalities can usually pass this cost on to the building contractor installing a new development or subdivision. Street and address postings for developments currently under construction are also important, especially for fire protection reasons.

House or building digit numbers should be conspicuously placed on all occupied land parcels and each building on a specific property, preferably above or as close to the doorways specifically. The lettering or numbering should be reflectorized as well and a minimum of six inches in height (eight for commercial properties) and should be a contrasting color to its background.

In the case of urban areas or areas where the building itself is more than five feet from the primary street or roadway, the street digit numbers should be posted at both the driveway entrance from the main roadway AND on the building itself. One without the other is useless. Numerals on mailboxes should be marked on both sides of the mailbox and on the front of mailboxes if several are clustered together. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Law Enforcement's Role in Street Addresses


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.