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Non-Emergency Calls Tie Up 911 Dispatch

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11 News has the police dispatch tapes that you’ve got to hear to believe.

People are calling into 911 for some crazy requests while those with real emergencies can't get through.

We have heard from a lot of folks recently who are frustrated that their calls to 911 went unanswered.

Springs Police Chief Pete Carey is now saying he needs at least 10 more people in the call center, but staffing isn't the only challenge. People are calling 911 dispatch for non-emergency situations.

One woman wanted police to come close her garage door.

“We are leaving, for like, overseas for 27 days, so can you send somebody into there and make sure our garage door is closed?" the caller asked.

Rather than look at the clock, one man actually asked 911 for the time.

“I was wondering...my cell phone is messed up and doesn't give the time. Could you tell me what time it is?"

Meanwhile, people with real emergencies can't get through to a dispatcher.

“I just kept looking at the phone. I'm thinking, I’m panicking, 'Maybe I dialed wrong?'” recalled Dorothy Sanderson.

We recently reported on Dorothy Sanderson's story. Her mom was having a stroke, and according to her phone records, her call to 911 rang for about a minute before she gave up and hung up.

Although Chief Carey wants to hire more dispatchers, he says part of the problem is just common sense, getting people to use 911 strictly for emergencies.

“I'm looking for a telephone number for a round table pizza," a caller said.

“Okay, I'm going to go ahead and disconnect the line since you have no emergency."

Dispatchers also get a lot of hang up calls. So far for the month of October, they've received 3,207 cell phone hang ups and 600 landline hang ups. Even if you dial 911 by accident, dispatchers say it's better to stay on the line. If you hang up they are required to call you back and all of that takes time.

The non-emergency number is 444-7000.


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