St. Paul RCMP have conducted a review that shows that they received over 100 calls for service for 911 hang-ups or pocket dials over the past three months. Along with pocket dials, there are situations where callers hang up before operators are able to determine what their call is about.
These calls require a police response to investigate and ensure the safety of the caller. This equates to hundreds of human resource hours that could have been dedicated to more urgent calls for service. It can vary greatly as some cases have officers searching for hours to locate a caller who may or may not be in danger.
“You can help us keep our 911 lines open and our officers free to respond to real emergencies,” says Staff Sergeant Greg Stannard, Detachment Commander of the St. Paul RCMP. “By cutting down on false 911 calls, we can ensure our officers are where they are needed most.”
Here are some tips to prevent false 911 calls and assist officers in reducing the time required to investigate a false 911 call:
- If you accidentally dial 911, do not hang up. Stay on the line and let the call taker know it was an accident. If you hang up, the call taker will need to call you back to determine why you called and confirm there is no emergency.
- Don’t program 911 into your telephone—speed dials can lead to accidental calls.
- Keep your cell phone locked or in a standby mode and in a safe location to prevent accidental or pocket dial calls.
- Don’t allow children to play with the telephone or cell phone. It is not a toy.
- Lock it before you pocket your device—to avoid unintentional calls to 911.
- To assist investigators in helping you if you are in need of assistance, if you are using an application for cellular services, or a VOIP service, register your address and keep it updated.
Examples of when a 911 call for police assistance should be made:
- Your life or the life of another person is in danger
- You are witnessing a crime in progress
- You are in a collision and are injured
- You suspect a motorist is impaired
If your matter is less urgent, you can call the St. Paul RCMP administration line at 780-645-8870 when:
- You need to report a crime that has already occurred and there are no suspects or evidence
- You were in a collision and were not injured and your vehicle is not obstructing traffic
- You want to report suspicious persons or activities