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Hundreds of accidental 911 calls tie up resources at Santa Maria Police Department


SANTA MARIA, Calif. - In just three weeks, the Santa Maria Police Department has received hundreds of accidental phone calls.

“With the new system we've been able to look at the analytics of the calls coming into our call center. What we've found is that there has been 588 accidental or unintentional 911 calls,” said Lt. Russell Mengel of the Santa Maria Police Department.

Officers said the non-emergency calls are tying up their resources for

“People should take under consideration that 911 is only for emergency
situations,” said Sgt. Alfredo Ruiz of the Santa Maria Police Department.

Mengel said calls are coming from kids playing on the phone.

“That happens when somebody accidentally dials 911 or makes the emergency call on their cell phone or a child is playing with their parents' cell phone,” Mengel said.

Mengel said even if the phone doesn't have active service, it's still capable of calling 911.

Mengel encourages parents not to give old cell phones to their kids to play with, because those calls often end up at the emergency call center.

But with any phone call, when people accidentally dial 911 and then hang up before talking to the dispatcher, Mengel said it triggers call-backs and police response.

If it's not an emergency but you need to talk to someone, there is another line you can call.

“We urge our community members to contact our administrative line for that type of information,” Ruiz said.

Article Topic Follows: Safety

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Patricia Martellotti

Patricia Martellotti is a reporter for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Patricia, click here.


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