911 Abuse - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

06/26/04 - East Texas

911 Abuse

Officer Jeremy Terrell of the Nacogdoches Police Department said, "we actually get a lot of phone calls of people who want numbers for say the jail, which is in the phone book. Cats in trees, you know, stuff that's not really an emergency. "

It happens all the time.

Actual 911 call:

Operator: 911.
Caller: Hi, I'm sorry to bother you. My name is Jackie Cheston. I had lost my time and I was wondering if you have the time?
Operator: You lost your time?
Caller: Yes.
Operator: Ok and you're calling 911 to figure out what the time is?
Caller: Yes. Because no one else would give me the...
Operator: Sir neither am I, you are tying up an emergency line, call the Police Department okay.
Caller: Thank you.

The time?!? Come on. 911 is only supposed to be used in emergencies. The problem is that in tying up those emergency lines with a non-emergency phone call, you could be putting someone's life in danger.

One dispatcher we spoke to said she took a call that sent several officers to a house because somebody called in saying people were breaking in. That prank caused several police officers to be off the street instead of out there protecting you.

So bottom line, if it's not an emergency, call the police department, and leave 911 to emergency situations.

What many people don't know is that you can actually be fined if your call isn't an emergency. 911 abuse is a Class B Misdemeanor. You can be fined up to $2,000 and jailed up to 180 days. And the people that can press charges against you are the dispatchers that you called in the first place.

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