Petty 911 calls cause major problems in West Memphis - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Petty 911 calls cause major problems in West Memphis

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By Jason Miles - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (WMC-TV) - West Memphis police, fire and emergency services share a common 911 center. Authorities there say up to 50% of the calls received on any given day are frivolous. 

"Someone stole the tags off of your vehicle?," a dispatcher asked a caller Wednesday.
     
But stolen car tags are just the beginning.
    
"I've been called on mosquito bites," said EMS administrator Chris Brogdon. "People who've cut their fingernails too short."
    
Brogdon says one woman dialed 911 for advice on how much money to mail a televangelist.
    
"She was crying and wanting to know how much," he said.
     
Here's part of one actual recent call:

Caller: "I just woke up and my brothers, they gone come up pootin' and pickin' on me."
    
Operator:  "You say they pootin' on you?"
    
Caller: "Yeah, and pickin' on me...hittin' me and stuff."

Assistant police chief Mike Allen says the department may push for a city ordinance to deal with the problem.

"There's got to be a way to stop some of this nonsense," he said.
    
The police department might also begin stricter enforcement of laws that already address false alarms.
    
"Our biggest fear is that all of these frivolous calls coming into the 911 system, at some point, may tie up the system," said Allen.
     
Someone with an actual emergency may be prevented from receiving the help they need.
     
Officials suggest residents learn non-emergency numbers and keep cell phones away from children. And remember, disconnected phones still have the ability to dial 911.
 

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