Region 8 Family Wants Better Response to 911 Hang Up Calls

March 29, 2007 - Posted at 5:07 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO-For Nick Andrews, a weekend with family and friends took an interesting turn.

"We were grilling out, having a good time. We were just chit chatting and visiting, about about that time the phone rang. It was the city asking if somebody had called 911 and hung up," said Andrews.

At first he was confused, but... "I got back there and I noticed one of the girls had the phone in their hand, and they hung it up real quick.," said Andrews.

Not only had the girls called 911, but they had done it twice.

Both times the city called Andrews.

"I said everything's fine. Nothing is going on. Then she asked my name to compare to the phone records. I told her and then she verified my address. That was basically it."

However, Andrews and his family say they were a little concerned that nothing else was done.

"I really thought a police officer was going to show up at my door, just to double check."

Meanwhile, for 911 center operators, they followed standard procedure.

"The times that we do not get anybody to the phone to verify that there's someone there that's an adult, we will send an officer by there. In the chance there is something going on in the background, we will send someone by without a delay," said Keith Baggett with E-911.

However for Andrews, the safety of his kids would come as more than verification.

"Worst case scenario, that person was kidnapped and trying to let somebody know. If nobody checked it out, who's to blame?" said Andrews.

"If it's someone who's not supposed to be there. They probably won't answer the phone anyway if they know it's the police calling. And also the child will most likely let us know if there is a problem there," said Baggett.

When your answering more than 25-thousand calls a month, it's just not easy to do a welfare check on every one.

"We have to prioritize our calls due to the manpower situation. There's not enough officers to cover every single hang up call that comes through our 911 center every day," said Baggett.Operators with E 911 say the best thing parents can do is explain to their children when it's okay to call and not to call 911.

They say this can save both dispatchers and parents a lot of headaches.

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