Police and Emergency Communications warn about potential risk of 911 prank calls
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:07:59 GMT —
Amarillo Police and the Amarillo Emergency Communications Center are advising parents to talk to their kids about the risk of making 911 prank calls after a 6-year-old child called and said she was trapped in trunk.
The AECC said they received several hang up calls from the same number, then finally got a call from the child who quickly hung up.
"I'm locked in a trunk, I'm locked in a trunk...then it would just disconnect," AECC manager Judith Weshinskey-Price said.
She said 5 units, including an ambulance and fire truck, were dispatched to the location.
"We dispatch the ambulance in case the child needs medical help, and a fire truck because they have tools for getting her out. This is a high priority call"
Amarillo police said they did everything to find her.
"We were knocking on doors and knocking on trunks trying to locate her," Amarillo Police Department Corporal Jerry Neufeld said.
They were finally able to find her unharmed.
We spoke to the mother of the child who said her daughter made the call while at a neighbors house, and did not get fined.
Neufeld said the child cannot be criminally charged for a fake call because she is younger than to 10-years-old.
He does say when they receive prank calls like this, it puts other residents in real danger at high risk.
"If we're pulling away officers from other emergencies then we're putting other people's life at risk," Neufeld said.
Price also said it limits the emergency calls made to the communications center that are serious.
"We have limited resources and limited call takers to answer those other calls that could be a real emergency," Price said.
Price also said getting hang up 911 calls , or kids curious to call 911 is not unusual to get in the summer. She said when a child has a story to go along with the call, it's more unusual.
Neufeld said requiring emergency employees to go to a prank call location is required and does not cost the department extra money during normal hours. If they are required to call employees on, they could then need more money for the extra overtime and man power.
Price also said should tell their children 911 is for emergencies only, and that calling as a prank could put others in danger.
"We are here to help, but we have other people to help as well."