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-   -   How do police handle 911 nuisance calls? (http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/showthread.php?t=61075)

snoozn 03-13-2011 03:31 PM

How do police handle 911 nuisance calls?
 
I tried to google this, but could only find examples of nuisance calls ("My McNuggets are cold!"). A few articles did mention that people could be prosecuted, but I'm wondering if 911 operators handle calls any differently from someone who is a known nuisance caller. My suspicion is that they don't, due to liability issues. But it would be useful to my story if the operator could at least tell the caller that he is on a list and imply that his call may not be acted on immediately.

DavidK 03-13-2011 03:48 PM

Re: How do police handle 911 nuisance calls?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by snoozn (Post 731786)
I tried to google this, but could only find examples of nuisance calls ("My McNuggets are cold!"). A few articles did mention that people could be prosecuted, but I'm wondering if 911 operators handle calls any differently from someone who is a known nuisance caller. My suspicion is that they don't, due to liability issues. But it would be useful to my story if the operator could at least tell the caller that he is on a list and imply that his call may not be acted on immediately.

It varies somewhat but those sorts of calls are common. The operator sees different information about the call depending what state or area you're in. One-off nuisance calls are often just reminded politely that they have wrongly called 911. Repeat nuisance callers can be prosecuted and in some jurisdictions their phone account can be suspended. Nuisance callers are not usually recorded on a list, but the originating phone number is 'flagged' so that it shows with a reference to repeat nuisance calls whenever a call originates from that number. Depending on the size of the call center, some are referred to a supervisor who will advise the caller that action might be taken if the calls continue. It also depends on what sort of assistance the caller is requesting. In some jurisdictions, for example, the fire department is obliged to attend all fire calls even if they suspect the call is fake and in many departments the fire response is automated by computer - the 911 operator enters details into the system and the dispatch computer initiates an automated response, so there is little or no human discretion (= error) in some instances. But in a nutshell, one-off nuisance callers are often politely educated, and repeat nuisance callers are usually warned of action that might be taken.

NikeeGoddess 03-13-2011 04:16 PM

Re: How do police handle 911 nuisance calls?
 
not a pro.
i think the real action is non-action from police officers who are sick and tired of going to that house. but there is a law against making false alarm calls... and action will be taken accordingly (like davidk said) but i don't think the 911 operator has any real power except to identifying the nuisance calls themselves. but for the sake of your story you can fudge the real truth on this. just make it reasonable.

snoozn 03-14-2011 10:29 AM

Re: How do police handle 911 nuisance calls?
 
Thanks for the quick responses! For my purposes, my guy is kind of a "boy who cried wolf." He's called police several times on claims they've looked into and found false. The last time, he has the "ticking time bomb" right there, but I'd like them to be slow to respond. I really like the idea of his call being transferred to a supervisor and he's given a lecture while time is a-wasting. (Plus, we know that the cops are not going to hurry over).

mswriterj 03-14-2011 06:14 PM

Re: How do police handle 911 nuisance calls?
 
I was a 9-1-1 (police/fire) operator for 13 years. I had non-emergency calls on 9-1-1 that ranged from kids telling me they had to poop before they cracked up with laughter (which elicited a visit from an officer to scare the poop out of the child) to a drunk man who threatened me and called me every name in the book. For this guy, I pressed charges against him for Disorderly Conduct - Filing a False Police Report, Disorderly Conduct (the general offense), and a few other small charges. I had to go to testify against him; tapes from the actually calls, along with my computer logs were presented as evidence. He was found guilty on all charges.

I used to have an old lady who would call in the middle of the night (on 9-1-1) and ask me the time. I would tell her the time and tell her to have sweet dreams.

Like everyone said, it really depends on the caller. Anyone CAN be charged with a misdemeanor (which varies - depending on what state you are in). Still, only the bad ones are actually charged. If it's a kid, and I could get the parent on the phone, I would handle it that way. If nobody answered the phone, they found an officer at their door.

Any more dispatch questions, feel free to PM.

silvercop 03-16-2011 01:36 PM

Re: How do police handle 911 nuisance calls?
 
It depends on state law. In Nevada for example, abuse of 911 is a gross misdemeanor, which means a police officer may arrest someone even if the offence was not committed in the officer’s presence (most of these violations are not committed in an officer’s presence). Commonly an officer will give a warning, but it is not required.

In practice, arrests are made for serious or repeated 911 abuse, or when the caller is abusive to the call-taker and that is conveyed to the responding officer.

Pardack 03-17-2011 11:36 AM

Re: How do police handle 911 nuisance calls?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mswriterj (Post 732056)
I used to have an old lady who would call in the middle of the night (on 9-1-1) and ask me the time. I would tell her the time and tell her to have sweet dreams.

Like everyone said, it really depends on the caller. Anyone CAN be charged with a misdemeanor (which varies - depending on what state you are in). Still, only the bad ones are actually charged. If it's a kid, and I could get the parent on the phone, I would handle it that way. If nobody answered the phone, they found an officer at their door.

I love that you can ask a question here and get this level of an answer...

My only issue with the original poster's question- wouldn't it be out of line for the operator to tell the caller 'you're on a list?' I completely get the why and how of a police visit but somehow the operator making that call himself/herself seems like an overstep...

mswriterj 03-17-2011 12:07 PM

Re: How do police handle 911 nuisance calls?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pardack (Post 732640)
My only issue with the original poster's question- wouldn't it be out of line for the operator to tell the caller 'you're on a list?' I completely get the why and how of a police visit but somehow the operator making that call himself/herself seems like an overstep...

I answered on PM about how to get around it. If all of the officers are tied up on a huge emergency (apartment building fire - pile up on the interstate) where all municiple, county, and state officers could be busy, the shift sergeant could tell the dispatcher that no cars are available (after he finds out who the caller is).

Pipe 03-22-2011 09:03 PM

Re: How do police handle 911 nuisance calls?
 
Around here if you call 911, even accidentally, you get a visit from the police. Regardless of how much you try to persuade them it was an accidental call.

sbbn 03-24-2011 11:33 PM

Re: How do police handle 911 nuisance calls?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pipe (Post 734142)
Around here if you call 911, even accidentally, you get a visit from the police. Regardless of how much you try to persuade them it was an accidental call.

Wow. Do your police officers have that much free time on their hands?? That's amazing. You must be in a very low crime area. I don't know many areas like that left where there is a large enough police force/low enough crime rate to respond to all those unintentional calls.


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