CROSS COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Before you give your child an old cell phone to play with, Cross County Sheriff J.R. Smith says stop and remove the battery.
Smith says his office has received an "overwhelming amount of 911 calls" from children playing with old cell phones.
"The problem is that many phones can still call 911 from the home screen until the battery is removed," Smith said in a statement Wednesday. "A child playing with an old phone as a toy can sometimes make those calls."
Another county received about 617 calls from a disconnected cell phone, he said, adding that a child can call 911 five to six times within a half-hour. Answering those calls takes law enforcement from other business and ties up 911 for someone who is really in need, Smith said.
Until dispatchers can ascertain a call is a mistake, they must treat each one as legitimate.
If a child accidentally calls 911, don't just hang up the phone.
"Just telling a dispatcher that a call was made by accident can save a lot of people time and trouble," Smith said.
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