The abuse and misuse of the 9-1-1 system


The nationwide 9-1-1 system is supposed to make it easy to call the local police and firefighters for help.  Unfortunately, it is too easy, and such a system is really suitable only for a moral and religious people, to paraphrase John Adams.*  The misuse and abuse of 9-1-1 can take many forms; however, the focus here is on (1) people who think the 9-1-1 system is the means to contact a magnanimous Big Brother who will solve everyday problems at no cost, and (2) people who use calls to 9-1-1 -- and the resulting paramilitary response by the local SWAT team -- as a weapon against their political enemies.  This practice is called "SWATting", and is a recent development made possible by technological "advances" that allow malicious spoofing of cell phone systems to falsify a phone number and impersonate the victim.  This kind of thing was unheard of back when every telephone was a hard-wired landline phone.

The subject of heavy-handed shock-and-awe police raids is discussed separately here.

The concept of 9-1-1 as the universal phone number for emergencies goes back to 1968.  I had never heard of 9-1-1 until the mid-1970's, and the 9-1-1 system in Dallas wasn't in place before 1982, as nearly as I can remember, but the history of 9-1-1 is another subject altogether.

(If you really want to get sidetracked, read 100 Ways to Mis-Dial 911.)



SWATting:  The use of 9-1-1 as a weapon

The Serial Swatter.  Internet trolls have learned to exploit our over-militarized police.  It's a crime that's hard to stop — and hard to prosecute.

Prank call ends in SWAT situation at elderly woman's home.  The SWAT team responded to a call from a person threatening take their own life after they killed their parents only to learn it was a not-so-harmless prank.  West Valley City authorities are asking for your help finding the person responsible for that prank phone call.

Mir Islam, Who SWATted Me in 2013, Has Been Sentenced to Two Years in Prison.  The FBI contacted me earlier this month to tell me that the guy responsible for targeting me in a March 2013 SWATting incident was scheduled for sentencing in federal court, but I couldn't report anything about it until after the hearing.

Gun control groups accused of 'swatting' open-carry permit holders, putting lives at risk.  Second Amendment groups are accusing the gun control lobby of putting law-abiding owners of firearms in danger by urging people to call the police on anyone carrying a gun in public.  As more states relax rules about open-carrying of guns, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has taken to social media to urge the public to assume gun-toters are trouble, and to call the cops on anyone they feel may be a threat.

Open-Carry Advocate Targeted in 'SWATting'.  [S]watting incidents are becoming more common.  They started out with Internet gamers who would hide behind online personas and anonymous names to report that their gaming opponent had a gun or had taken hostages.  The response often is a full-scale SWAT team at the location, with guns drawn and military vehicles at the ready.  It's even happened to actor Clint Eastwood.  But its danger turned from theory to tragedy over the summer when John Crawford III was gunned down in a Beavercreek, Ohio, store after being swatted by a caller who claimed Crawford was loading and pointing an assault rifle at customers in Walmart.

8chan user offers to "swat" GamerGate critic, cops sent to an old address.  According to The Oregonian, authorities showed up at the Portland home around 12am Saturday [1/3/2015] after receiving reports about an armed man with hostages inside.  Officers were developing a plan to contact the residents when they received notice the entire situation may be a hoax.  However, police ultimately wanted to (and did) ensure the residents were safe.  "It's not going to result in the prank playing out the way the prankster wanted it to," Portland Police Sgt. Pete Simpson told the paper.  "But it does create significant risk to the public and significant risk to officers responding.  And the prankster can face state and federal charges."

Walmart Shooting Victim's Family Wants Charges Filed Against SWATter.  John Crawford III was gunned down with little or no warning by Beavercreek, Ohio police last month after a man called 911 and claimed that he was pointing a rifle at shoppers inside a Walmart.  Crawford had picked up a BB gun sold by the store and was apparently thinking about purchasing it.  Video clearly shows that the caller, Ronald Ritchie, made claims about Crawford's actions that simply were not true.

Gamers using police hoax to lash out at opponents.  In each case, SWAT teams dispatched to the scene found no violent criminals or wounded victims — only video game players sitting at their computers, the startled victims of a hoax known as "swatting."

'Swatted' Bradenton live streamer survives malicious prank.  People from all over the world were watching Twitch.TV live streamer LaggySpork playing Minecraft at 6:45 a.m. Sunday [8/31/2014] when a dozen armed Bradenton Police Department officers stormed into his living room.  Unknown to LaggySpork, the online moniker for Lakeside South resident Mike Dolen, a Bradenton computer whiz who makes extra money playing Minecraft and other video games for an online audience, someone called the police claiming her father had a machine gun, her mother had just been shot and she was hiding in a closet.

Communists Call Cops, Shut Down 'Right-Wing Blogger' at Portland State Open Public Meeting.  This is excellent.  I know how the guy feels.

16-year-old Canadian boy arrested for over 30 swattings, bomb threats.  In March 2013, US computer security reporter Brian Krebs was swatted.  Swatting — a term that derives from SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) — is the practice of falsely reporting an emergency, as a prank or as revenge against someone, resulting in the dispatch of emergency services.  In Krebs's case, that meant armed law enforcement at his door.  Krebs' persecutor had, in fact, spoofed an emergency call to make it appear that it had come from the journalist's own phone.  The result:  about half a dozen squad cars, lights flashing, surrounding Krebs's front door, local police leaning over their cars and pointing guns at him.  That day, the police in his town learned what swatting is.

Hoax 'swatting call sends dozens of cops to NY Long Island home.  Dozens of heavily armed police officers descended on a home in Long Beach, Long Island, Tuesday afternoon [4/22/2014] thinking they might find a grisly murder scene.  Instead they found a terrified woman who had no clue what they were talking about and her teenaged son playing video games.  "We received a phone call from a gentleman who stated he had just shot his mother and his brother," Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney said.  "Unfortunately, this is a terrible national problem for law enforcement.  It's called swatting."

My Fear.  Memorial Day weekend last year someone called 911 claiming to be me.  He said he, meaning me, had killed my wife and would kill the neighbors unless the police came to stop me.  The police rolled into the driveway, blocked the street, and had me surrounded to figure out what happened.  Luckily the police officer who saw me first recognized me from television.

Are Democrat Mobs Planning SWAT Tactics Against Republicans in Texas?  [Scroll down]  The tactic described is similar to a tactic known to be used by some of the left's most odious elements, in which the police are called to the homes of conservatives on bogus accusations that the conservative is threatening his or her family, usually with a weapon.  Erick Erickson and Patterico have been victims of SWAT attacks.  SWAT attacks can be dangerous and even deadly, as local police adopt more military style weapons and tactics.

Hoax emergency message sends police to Wolf Blitzer's house in Bethesda.  Montgomery County police received an urgent message at about 6:25 p.m. Saturday [4/27/2013] saying someone had been shot at Wolf Blitzer's home in Bethesda.  Officers streamed toward the CNN host's residence near Congressional Country Club.  They set up a perimeter.  But a dispatch supervisor was immediately skeptical, and a call to CNN confirmed it:  The message was a fraud.

California lawmakers trying to pass legislation to crack down on 'swatting'.  California lawmakers are trying to crack down on malicious pranksters who make 911 calls that send police rushing to people's homes. [...] On Tuesday, a state Senate committee unanimously approved a bill to make those convicted of such hoaxes pay the cost of the police response.  This is considered a first step in the process that would eventually head to the governor's desk.

Why Are SWAT Teams Being Used as Tools of Harassment?  The blogger Patterico offers an astounding and horrifying story that reveals just how out of control some Americans can be in pursuit of a political vendetta.

Police: Angry Ex-Girlfriend Triggered US Airways Bomb Hoax.  A bomb hoax in Philadelphia that turned a Dallas-bound flight around and led to a full-scale SWAT response was apparently triggered by a spiteful ex-girlfriend who participated in a cruel joke on her former beau who was aboard the US Air flight, police told ABC News.

CNN Contributor Erickson and Family Targeted in Latest 'SWATing' Attack.  Erik Erickson, editor-in-chief of RedState.com and a CNN political contributor, reports that he is the latest conservative to be "SWAT"ed.  Local police received a call from an individual claiming to be Erickson, stating that an accidental shooting had occurred at his home.

Former DOJ Attorney: Eric Holder Could Stop SWATings 'in 48 Hours'.  Former Department of Justice attorney J. Christian Adams took to Twitter in the wake of the SWATing of Red State's Erik Erickson and declared:  ["]Eric Holder or an ethical USAttorney could stop this swatting in 48 hours.  Violates 18 USC 241.  Online efforts should be directed at #DOJ.["]

Conservative bloggers say they're targets of dangerous 'SWAT-ing' prank.  Conservative bloggers say they are being terrorized by a potentially deadly prank in which phony 911 calls bring armed cops to their doors in search of criminals, all in retaliation for their blog posts.  At least two conservative Internet pundits have reported being victims of "SWAT-ing."  In at least one incident, the caller claimed to be the resident of the home and confessed to shooting his wife, according to a recording of the call posted online.

Senator Asks DOJ to Investigate SWAT-ting Attacks on Conservative Bloggers.  A number of conservative bloggers allege they have been targeted through the use of harassment tactics such as SWAT-ting (fooling 911 operators into sending emergency teams to their homes), in retaliation for posts they have written, and now Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., has stepped into the matter.

Rep. Marchant demands DOJ investigation into blogger SWAT-tings.  On the heels of Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss's letter that was sent to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding an inquiry into the attacks on conservative bloggers via SWAT-tings, Congressman Kenny Marchant, Texas Republican, sent a letter on Thursday [6/7/2012] to the attorney general demanding an investigation into the SWAT-tings.

CNN's Don Lemon Questions Erick Erickson About 'Swatting' Attacks On Conservative Bloggers.  On Friday [6/8/2012], CNN's Don Lemon spoke with conservative blogger Erick Erickson about "swatting," or making it appear as if another, targeted person is making fraudulent 911 calls.  And, as Lemon warned viewers, the results could be fatal.

Report: 70 House Members to Call on DOJ to Investigate SWATting of Conservative Bloggers.  Earlier today [6/9/2012], Breitbart News reported that the recent SWATting attacks on several political writers and commentators have been gaining traction in the mainstream media:  ["]Today, CNN featured a story centering around CNN contributor and RedState managing editor Erick Erickson, the latest victim in a series of incidents in which an imposter mimics the phone number of a target, then calls the police and confesses to a violent crime.["]

Don't Make the Call: The New Phenomenon of 'Swatting'.  Remember the "phone phreakers?"  The term hit our national consciousness in the 1970s, when a magazine reported on a small group of techie troublemakers who were hacking into phone companies' computers and making free long-distance calls.  Today, there's a new, much more serious twist on this old crime.  It's called "swatting," and it involves calling 9-1-1 and faking an emergency that draws a response from law enforcement — usually a SWAT team.  Needless to say, these calls are dangerous to first responders and to the victims.

85 Members of Congress Demand Holder Investigate SWATting Cases.  These crimes occur when individuals call emergency dispatchers under the guise of another person's name with fraudulent claims, causing local law enforcement to swarm the home of innocent Americans.  SWAT-ting first arose in 2002, but as technology and the Internet has expanded, the dangers of SWAT-ting are also on the rise.

Aaron Walker SWAT-ted.  Aaron Walker, one of the bloggers targeted by Brett Kimberlin, is the latest victim of SWAT-ting.  Walker, who goes by Aaron Worthing online, tweeted the news of this extreme form of harassment being used on his family shortly after news broke that the peace order against him had been modified, restoring his First Amendment rights. Thankfully, though, Aaron reports that he and his wife are safe.

Chambliss Not Impressed With Holder's Response to SWATing.  A month ago, 80 members of Congress called for the Justice Department to investigate SWATing in a letter sent directly to Attorney General Eric Holder.  Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss was the first member of Congress to call for an investigation and now a month later, he is less than impressed with Holder's response to the situation.  He sent Holder another letter yesterday [7/11/2012] showing his disappointment in the non-action from the DOJ to address the issue.

Senator Chambliss Demands More Action from Attorney General on SWATtings.  In Wednesday's [7/11/2012] letter, Senator Chambliss emphasized the dangers that SWAT-ting presents, and warned "When innocent people are handcuffed, children witness their parents treated as criminals, helicopters overhead awaken the neighbors and the victim realizes that one wrong move by him or his family could lead to irreversible catastrophe, there is overwhelming cause for concern."  Since Chambliss' initial letter was sent to Holder, another SWATting has occurred.

Miley Cyrus' California Home Swarmed by Police in Possible Hoax.  Miley Cyrus' Los Angeles home was swarmed by police, fire and rescue squads responding to a report of a possible home invasion, but the pop star was apparently the victim of a "swatting" prank.  Law enforcement officials said a 911 call came in Wednesday at 6:50 p.m. PT, stating a possible home invasion with possible shots fired at Cyrus' home.

Wife called in bomb hoax to prevent husband from flying to Paris without her.  A whacked-out New Jersey woman sent police rushing to Newark Airport yesterday after falsely accusing her husband of plotting to blow up a plane, authorities said.  Eunice Ukaegbu, 50, called cops about her hubby, Okieze Ukaegbu, 58, because she didn't want him to leave the country without her, authorities said.


Brett Kimberlin and Erick Erickson

I had never heard of Brett Kimberlin until recently, but apparently he has made quite a pest of himself, and "SWATting" appears to be one of his techniques.  If you dig into the subject of "SWATting", it won't be long before you encounter the name of Brett Kimberlin.

Bogus Call Sends Police to Home of Kimberlin Critic Erick Erickson.  [Scroll down]  I just got off the phone with Erickson.  He says the caller reported an "accidental shooting" and that it was therefore less traumatic than my experience.  However, he said, his kids were outside as the police showed up with lights flashing  — and some of the cops were keeping their hands on their guns even as his children were running around.  Anyone else think CNN is going to talk about SWATting now?

SWATting the Ericksons.  Last week we spent a lot of time writing about Brett Kimberlin and the incident involving blogger Patterico where someone spoofed his phone number and told 911 he had shot his wife.  Tonight, my family was sitting around the kitchen table eating dinner when sheriffs deputies pulled up in the driveway.

Brett Kimberlin and 'SWATting': Where Is the Establishment Press?  As the clock in the Eastern time zone officially tells me that it's Memorial Day, it occurs to me that the men and women we honor today did not fight and die so they would see their country become one where a person could be hounded from their home, see themselves and/or loved ones lose their jobs, worry about the safety of their kids, or be visited by police with guns drawn as a result of a false anonymous tip — all of which has "just so happened" to occur in close proximity to having blogged about the activities of a certain person or his associates.

Brett Kimberlin's Heiress Aunt Helping Fund His Tax-Exempt Harassment.  Convicted felon Brett Kimberlin is the nephew of a wealthy Maryland woman who has contributed to a foundation that helped fund a 501(c)3 organization of which Kimberlin is the director.  Kimberlin's activities have recently attracted widespread attention because of his attempts to intimidate and harass bloggers who wrote about his criminal history.

So, just who is this Brett Kimberlin? And why should we care?  Andrew Breitbart, before his untimely death, warned of the need to expose Kimberlin.  Now, Stacy McCain is all over the story.  Please give this a read, it matters, a great deal I would say.

"It takes an 'Army of Breitbarts' to overcome the indifference, inertia and bias of the mainstream media."
Who Warned Us About Brett Kimberlin?  This was important, and Andrew Breitbart understood why it was important:  The "TwitterGate" episode in October 2010 exposed Democrat operative Neal Rauhauser's role in an apparent conspiracy to harass Tea Party activists online.  Shortly thereafter, Mandy Nagy (aka "Liberty Chick") documented Brett Kimberlin heinous criminal history.  Kimberlin and his "Velvet Revolution" partner Brad Friedman teamed up to urge Maryland authorities to prosecute James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles.  At some point, according to Kimberlin, he became an "associate" of Rauhauser.

Stacy McCain's Kimberlin Story a Must Read.  Stacy McCain's story nearby, "Terror By Any Other Name," is yet one more piece of evidence of just how far around the bend the American Left has gone.  The saga of Brett Kimberlin as Stacy explains it is in reality a microcosm of the leftist mindset that has been more than evident since the 1960s at a minimum.  In fact, as I have detailed in an earlier piece "The Obama Thugocracy" — and I am not alone in using the term — intimidation and violence are staples of the left in general.

Terror by Any Other Name.  Michelle Malkin has called Brett Kimberlin an "online terrorist ringleader," while blogger Jimmie Bise Jr. prefers the phrase "lying felon," but Kimberlin's political allies call him a "progressive activist."  During the past week, Kimberlin's bizarre methods of "activism" have made him the focus of intense scrutiny from conservative bloggers, arousing the interest of major news organizations, so that the convicted felon once notorious as the "Speedway Bomber" is likely to become even more notorious in the near future.

Leftist assault on free speech and conscience.  Have you heard of SWATing?  Someone calls 911 falsely claiming that a person has killed someone or is about to do so.  It can bring down a world of hurt, complete with sirens and a SWAT team with drawn guns.  In a radio interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show, conservative Web entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart began warning people about the tactic shortly before he collapsed and died on March 1.  No, I'm not suggesting his death had anything to do with this, however convenient it was for the political left.  Over the past year, strong-arm tactics have been used against prominent conservative bloggers who have written about a left-wing activist named Brett Kimberlin.

Convicted Bomber Brett Kimberlin, Neal Rauhauser, Ron Brynaert, and Their Campaign of Political Terrorism.  In the last radio interview Andrew Breitbart ever gave, on Hugh Hewitt's radio show, Breitbart talked about a new ruthless tactic used by thugs against political opponents:  ["][O]ne of the things they've done to people who have worked with me in the past, including an L.A. prosecutor, is to "SWAT."  That means that they're spoofing phones, pretending to be somebody else's phone, calling 911, and saying "I killed somebody" and then the person's home is met with the guns drawn, the SWAT and the helicopters, in a horrifying act.["]

The Editor says...
The practice of using misinformed SWAT teams as weapons against political enemies would not be so attractive if the police were not in the habit of responding to anonymous tips with militaristic force.

Why Is The State Dept. Partnering With 'Speedway Bomber' Brett Kimberlin?  Following The Blaze's extensive coverage of the Indiana Speedway Bomber (Brett Kimberlin) turned Soros-funded "social justice" activist who routinely terrorizes bloggers, is a provocative post at United Liberty asking why The State Department has been teaming up with the domestic terrorist.

Kimberlin Funders Stunned to Discover they Fund Kimberlin.  A Breitbart News investigation has revealed that many of the funders of the Justice Through Music Project (JTMP), a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization of which convicted "Speedway bomber" Brett Kimberlin is a director, do not know about his criminal past.  Those foundations and funds listed as donors that responded to request for comment also indicated that they had not been contacted by media other than Breitbart News.

Who Will Protect the Freedom to Blog?  Free speech is under fire.  Online thugs are targeting bloggers (mostly conservative, but not all) who have dared to expose a convicted bomber and perjuring vexatious litigant who is now enjoying a comfy life as a liberally subsidized social justice operative.  Where do your elected representatives stand on this threat to our founding principles?  On Wednesday [6/6/2012], U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-GA, bravely stepped forward to press this vital issue.  In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Chambliss decried the "harassing and frightening actions" of Internet menaces who recently have gone after several conservative new media citizen journalists and activists.

Brett Kimberlin and the Left-Wing Money-Machine.  Until just a few years ago, Brett Kimberlin was a convicted drug dealer and terrorist doing 51 years in federal prison for planting eight roadside bombs in the town of Speedwell, Indiana.  The last of those bombs left a man so severely disfigured that he committed suicide a few years later.  An inveterate liar and con artist, Kimerblin managed to gain fame from prison in 1988 by falsely claiming to have sold drugs to then-presidential candidate Dan Quayle.

Competent Judge Throws Convicted Felon Brett Kimberlin's 'Peace Order' Out.  It's amazing what a competent judge can do.  In this case, Judge Rupp of Maryland did what Judge Vaughey refused to do, namely, actually look at the evidence of "harassment" that convicted felon Brett Kimberlin pushed against Aaron Walker.

Somewhat related:  malicious impersonation.
Police Chief Signed Tea Party Leader Up For Gay Dating Site As Political Payback.  In Campbell, Wisconsin, political retaliation has sunk to a new low.  Police Chief Tim Kelemen just closed a plea deal for using local Tea Party leader Greg Luce's personal information to sign him up for gay dating websites, pornography websites, and — the icing on the cake — HealthCare.gov.  These actions could fall under the definition of identity theft, which carries serious penalties.  Depending on the severity, the fraudulent use of another's identifying information could earn up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


Overgrown toddlers depend on 9-1-1 for everything

The nanny state has established 9-1-1 as a universal means of asking for help from the almighty government.  Naturally there are people who turn to this service as a matter of reflex whenever the slightest dispute arises.  Something tells me that these same people are already in the habit of depending on the government (in lieu of a job) for financial support.

I'm sure there are many cases like this, but here are just a few examples:

Lazy Woman Calls Out Mountain Rescue Service Asking For a Ride Down Because She Was Tired.  A female mountain climber in Sweden called out air ambulance and rescue personnel because she felt tired and wanted a ride back down from a mountain she had scaled.  The woman, who was climbing with her husband near Jokkmokk, just north of the Arctic Circle, contacted the rescue team saying she was unable to walk and couldn't get down from the mountain without assistance, The Local reported.  After the ambulance arrived to rescue the woman, paramedics discovered that she was just tired.

University of Michigan Students Call for Police to Censor Classmates' Political Messages.  The University of Michigan is one of our nation's premier institutions of higher learning.  Young people from all over the country move to Ann Arbor every year to obtain an education and to have their ideas challenged by exposure to fellow students from many walks of life.  Or maybe not.  Last Thursday afternoon [3/31/2016], a number of anonymous chalk messages appeared on campus.  But because these innocuous chalk messages read "#StopIslam" and "Trump 2016," they elicited 911 calls and an apology from the president of the university.  Apparently such statements constitute "hate speech." [...] Chalk on sidewalks is one of the most common ways college students express themselves, because it is easily washed off.  One other reason why chalk messages are used is because they are anonymous.  And in America, anonymous and pseudonymous speech is deeply rooted in our constitutional tradition.

A University in the San Francisco Area Actually Told Students To Call 911 if They Were Offended.  The coddling of special snowflakes in our nation's universities continues, but this time, it's more ridiculous than ever before.  Santa Clara University has literally told their students to call 911 if they were offended — yes, really.

The use of 9-1-1 to snitch on your parents:
Massachusetts boy, 5, calls 911 to report his father went through a red light.  The Quincy Police Department on Wednesday [6/1/2016] posted to Facebook a recording of a 911 call the boy placed to report his father had run a red light.

The Editor says...
Of course, the leftist news media were thrilled by this reflexive dependence on the police state and the kid's allegiance to the cops above and beyond his own father, as you can see below:

Quincy 6-Year-Old Calls 911 On Father For Running Red Light.  "Every day we answer numerous 911 calls," police said.  "Often times, these calls are from individuals who are in need of immediate assistance.  Sometimes, it's a simple misdial.  Then there's Robert's 9-1-1 call.  Robert is a six year old resident of Quincy."

Boy, 5, calls 911 to report 'Daddy went through a red light'.  A 5-year-old Massachusetts boy may have a future in law enforcement.  The Quincy Police Department on Wednesday posted to Facebook a recording of a 911 call the boy placed to report his father had run a red light.  The boy tells a dispatcher:  "Daddy went through a red light." He then describes the vehicle and says it was "in the brand-new car, my mummy's car." He doesn't identify himself.

Child Calls 911 After Father Allegedly Runs Red Light in Quincy, Massachusetts.  A 6-year-old Massachusetts boy nearly got his father in trouble with the law when he called 911 to say his dad had driven through a red light.  "My daddy went past a red light.  He has a black truck.  He was in the brand new car, my mommy's car," Robbie Richardson told the 911 dispatcher in Quincy.

Boy calls 911 to report dad driving through red light.  This wasn't the kind of emergency Joleen McDonald had in mind when she taught her 6-year-old son, Robbie, to dial 911.  When Robbie took a ride with his dad and saw him drive past a red light, he did what he thought was the right thing to do:  He called the cops.

"It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children.  And with good reason, for hardly a week passed in which The Times did not carry a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak — 'child hero' was the phrase generally used — had overheard some compromising remark and denounced its parents to the Thought Police."

1984, Chapter two.    
 

Police: Georgia woman called 911 about 150 times over a few weeks; charged with false reports.  Bibb County authorities charged 41-year-old Toshiba L. Smith of Macon, Georgia, with making false reports and misusing the emergency number earlier this week.

How a dumb software glitch kept thousands from reaching 911.  Who ever thinks that their call to 911 would go unanswered?  But in a terrifying incident this spring, thousands of Americans found themselves in need of help — and got none.  For six hours, emergency services went dark for more than 11 million people across seven states.  The entire state of Washington found itself disconnected from 911.

Teen arrested after calling 911 about his odd dream.  Perhaps it was the synthetic marijuana Mark Welch said he was smoking on Sunday.  But when Welch awoke from a strange dream, convinced that everything he dreamed was actually happening for real, he told his parents about it.  When the 18-year-old's parents said they didn't believe him, he decided to call 911 to report the incident.

The Editor says...
I suppose intoxicated people probably call 9-1-1 all the time, but even so, this is a strange case.

Homeless woman dials 911 for ride to Rockford.  Kathleen J. Featherstone, 57, allegedly called 911 from a pay phone outside the Road Ranger at 3752 Camp Butler Road, and said, "Get somebody here now."  When the officer arrived, Featherstone said she was trying to get to Rockford and wanted police to take her.

Man calls 911 after Subway left sauce off sandwich.  Jacksonville police say Reginald Peterson needs to learn that 911 is not the appropriate place to complain that Subway left the sauce off a spicy Italian sandwich.

Are We Smarter Than Our Cars?  [Scroll down]  What struck me while watching the TV coverage was how everyone concerned — from the driver to the 9-1-1 dispatchers to the TV reporters — seemed to have had not a clue as to what the driver should have done.  And everyone seemed to accept that the natural and logical response to one's car speeding out of control was to dial 9-1-1.  The best the 9-1-1 dispatchers could do was advise her to try to lift the accelerator pedal with her foot, and to push mightily on the brake pedal. [...] But I also see it as going far beyond mere stupidity.  I see it as symbolic of the death of self-reliance.  I see it as symbolic of how folks nowadays look first to "the authorities" to solve problems they used to solve for themselves.

Fort Pierce woman calls 911 when McNuggets run out.  Told McDonald's was out of Chicken McNuggets after paying for a 10-piece, a local woman called 911.  Three times.  "This is an emergency, If I would have known they didn't have McNuggets, I wouldn't have given my money, and now she wants to give me a McDouble, but I don't want one," Latreasa L. Goodman later told police.  "This is an emergency."

At least something good resulted from all this...
'I'm embarrassed' by McNugget meltdown.  After becoming an Internet sensation for calling 911 three times to report an emergency after McDonald's had run out of McNuggets, a Fort Pierce woman said Wednesday she is embarrassed by all the media attention.  "I'm embarrassed to show my face in public," Latreasa Goodman told WPBF News 25's Alexis Rivera one day after her McNugget meltdown was first reported.

Woman calls 911 over lack of shrimp in fried rice.  A woman called 911 to report she didn't get as much shrimp as she wanted in her fried rice at a Texas restaurant.  Haltom City police on Tuesday [4/7/2009] released the taped emergency call, in which the customer is heard telling the dispatcher, "to get a police officer up here, what has to happen?"

Largo 911 call: 'Taco Bell won't serve me tacos!'.  A Largo man's late night craving and demand for tacos landed him in the Pinellas County jail for misuse of a 911 system.  Terry Kimbell, 50, called 911 from his cell phone to inform the dispatcher Taco Bell would not sell him tacos while he stood in the drive-thru lane Tuesday night [9/13/2011], according to a Largo police report.

Deputies:  Bad Manicure No Reason For 911.  Authorities said 44-year-old Cynthia Colson, of Deltona, called 911 several times after she wasn't satisfied with the length of her nails after a manicure.  Deputies said Colson called 911 at least four times:  twice after her original 911 call asking when deputies would arrive and a fourth time when the deputy was at the store trying to settle the dispute over payment.

Woman calls Haltom City cops over her 'extra shrimp'.  Here's a fishy food fight.  A woman who ordered shrimp fried rice at A&D Buffalo's on Monday afternoon called police when she believed that she didn't get the extra shrimp she had requested.

See a Smoker in a Non-Smoking Area?  Call 911.  If you catch someone smoking in a non-smoking area in Omaha, Neb., call the police.  The Omaha Police Department is encouraging city residents to call 911 in the wake of the citywide ban on smoking that went into effect on Oct. 2.

Is that what the designers of the 9-1-1 system had in mind?

Here's one good reason not to have a cell phone:

Wireless Technology:  They'll Know Where You AreUnder the so-called Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (CALEA) police are given the authority to track the locations of any cell phone users even if they're not dialing 911.

Many more articles about cell phone tracking can be found here.

Even if you dial 911 when you legitimately need help, there are no guarantees.
Woman Waits 35 Minutes On 911 While Intruder Breaks In.  A Williamson County woman fought off an intruder with a vacuum cleaner.  She was desperate for help, waiting for almost 35 minutes for law enforcement to arrive.  The single mom described that 35 minutes like the scene of a horror movie as she watched a man walk from windows to doors doing anything to break in to her home.


Other news and opinion related to 9-1-1

Police: Man arrested after cellphone randomly calls 911 numerous times.  Police in Ohio say they've arrested a man after receiving random 911 calls for months from his apparently malfunctioning cellphone.

Home Invasion Victim Waits Over an Hour for Police to Arrive.  [I]n many cities it can take the police a really long time to properly respond to a 911 call.  That's what happened to this Dallas resident, who was recently robbed at gunpoint in his home after his wife left for the airport. [...] After the men left, Jamie [the victim] fled to his neighbor[']s house to call 911.  Unfortunately, it took the police an hour and 27 minutes to show up.  It took them so long to respond, that his wife had time to come back home from the airport.  As he waited, he called 911 multiple times in an attempt to find out what was taking so long. [...] So why did it take the police so long to respond?  It turns out that hundreds of police officers have left the Dallas Police Department in recent months.

Surge in false 911 calls linked to Apple watches.  Public safety officials in Connecticut are warning about a surge in false 911 calls due to Apple Watches.  The Tolland County Mutual Aid Fire Service sasy that its 911 operators are dealing with the problem at it call center.  They have dubbed the problem "Wrist Dialing" and posted a warning on their Facebook page.

Police tell Florida woman to 'stop calling 911' hours before her death.  Sanford police were called twice on March 27 to mediate an altercation between Latina Verneta Herring, 35, and her boyfriend Allen Dion Cashe, 31, WESH-TV reported.  Police first responded to the duo, who were fighting over keys at a Wawa gas station at 3:20 a.m., and 20 minutes later responded to a call at Herring's house.  Hours after police left the home, Cashe kicked in Herring's door and fired an AK-47 killing Herring, her 8-year-old son, and injuring her father and 7-year-old son, according to an arrest report obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.  After shooting the family, Cashe fled the scene and shot two bystanders.

Mayor:  Impatient callers, staffing issues adding to 911 problem.  The city of Dallas still doesn't know what's causing surges in 911 calls, but the mayor seemed to put some of the blame on citizens and admitted Friday that the 911 call center has been understaffed. [...] Five months after the problems started and even with T-Mobile engineers working around the clock this week in Dallas, the city says it still does not know what's causing spikes in 911 calls.

Dallas says "ghost calls" to 911 from T-Mobile customers aren't to blame for deaths.  An enormous backlog of calls coming from T-Mobile customers in Dallas' 911 center was thought to be the culprit behind a tragic death in the area, but now, it appears that the city no longer believes so-called "ghost calls" are to blame.  This week, top executives from the Bellevue, Washington-based cellphone service provider paid a visit to the Texas metropolis to discuss why calls from T-Mobile customers have been flooding the emergency hotline.  Last week, a child died after his babysitter's repeated calls to 911 went unanswered.  But it seems as though the issue has been tied to a "backlog of legitimate 911 calls, not ghost calls, which aren't initiated by a person," as per a new Wall Street Journal report.

The Editor says...
The city government, the cellular service providers, the FCC, and the customers themselves are all pointing fingers at each other.  After years of training the public to rely on 9-1-1 for assistance with every problem life may present, the 9-1-1 call centers are flooded, and overflow calls get put on hold.  But the news media is missing one of the causes of 9-1-1 overloading, in my opinion.  Nearly everyone over the age of six now carries a cell phone, in many cases because Mommy is at work and nobody even knows who Daddy is.  The eight-year-old with extra time on his hands will eventually wonder if the 9-1-1 service really works.  When an adult answers and starts asking questions, the kid will terminate the call.  That's not a malfunction of the 9-1-1 system.

N.J. took $1.4B from your phone bill for new 911 system but never delivered.  [F]or more than a decade, every person in New Jersey with a phone has paid a tax on their monthly bill to make it happen, handing over a whopping $1.37 billion to Trenton.  Then came the classic Jersey bait-and-switch.  Rather than using the money for 911, lawmakers and governors have instead raided it time and again to balance the budget, leaving critical upgrades to the state's most important public safety system on hold.  An NJ Advance Media analysis found that of the $1.37 billion the state has collected in 911 fees since 2004, only 15 percent, about $211 million, has been used to help pay for the 911 system.  Investment in the upgrade, known as NextGen 911, has trickled to a halt.

HPD: 911 operator says "ain't nobody got time for this" and hangs up on callers.  A 911 operator is accused of intentionally hanging up on callers during emergencies simply because she was not in the mood to help, according to Houston police.  Crenshanda Williams has been charged with interference with an emergency telephone call.  Williams had been employed as a telecommunicator with the Houston Emergency Center since July 2014, and supervisors began to notice that her logs revealed an abnormally high amount of "short calls," with a duration of less than 20 seconds.  Supervisors investigated the recorded call logs, and found that thousands of calls had been disconnected by Williams between Oct. 2015 and March 2016.

Houston 911 Operator that Hung Up On Callers She 'Did Not Want To Talk To' [is] Now Facing Criminal Charges.  According to reports, 43 year old Houston 911 operator Crenshanda Williams is now facing criminal charges doing exactly that.  The investigation into Williams' sickening behavior began after managers of the Houston Emergency Center noticed that the operator had been involved in thousands of "short calls" between October of 2015 to March of 2016.  As law enforcement began to investigate the oddly short emergency calls in question (which were apparently under 20 seconds in length) it was discovered that Williams had simply been hanging up the phone because "she did not want to talk to anyone."

Somewhat related:
Coast Guard seeks serial hoaxer whose calls for help cost $500,000.  Twenty-eight calls for help in the past two years have sent the Coast Guard scrambling off the Maryland coast — but in each case the call turned out to be a hoax that originated from the same person.  The Coast Guard said in a press release Friday [7/22/2016] that it has spent $500,000 responding to the fake distress calls.

Virginia man dies after 911 call dismissed as accidental.  A Virginia 911 dispatcher center is under investigation after a man died when no one was sent out in response to his emergency call.  According to WJLA-TV, Robert Paulus died of heart disease in April in his Fredericksburg apartment.  Robert Paulus' son Michael told the station that his father called 911 hours before his death.  In the 18-second call to Fredericksburg City Dispatch, the dispatcher tried three times to make contact with Robert Paulus.  After hearing nothing but an unidentifiable sound, the call was labeled a pocket call, where no call back is required.

NYC man gets 6 years in prison for calling 50 fake emergencies to 911.  The calls, made between January and February 2014, included false claims of police-involved shootings, law enforcement in need of assistance and fires with people trapped.

"Stressed" liberal professor calls 911 on ROTC.  Prof. Heidi Czerwiec, an associate professor of English at the University of North Dakota (UND), claims she is so enraged that ROTC cadets are practicing maneuvers at the university, that she plans to call the police every time she sees them.  According to a complaint letter she wrote to the Grand Folks Herald, when Czerwiec first saw "two figures in camo" outside her office, she threw herself under her desk and desperately called 911 until they verified to her "that yes, in fact, I've probably just seen ROTC cadets."

Officials Say 911 Operator Was Ordering Pizza, Didn't Answer Call.  WSVN-TV reports that one of the 911 dispatchers in Broward County Florida didn't respond to an emergency call because they were occupied on an 7-minute call ordering pizza on another line.

Be careful what you say to 911.  What you say on 911 is recorded.  It can and will be used against you in a court of law.  My friend and publisher of numerous books on gun laws, Alan Korwin, says that in the vast majority of cases where people involved in self defense scenarios end up in serious legal difficulties, it is what they said on 911 that got them into trouble.

Top 10 reasons to vote Democrat.  [#6]  Vote Democrat because you're way too irresponsible to own a gun, and know that your local police are all you need to protect yourself from murderers and thieves.  You're also thankful you have a 911 service that get police to your home in order to identify your body after a home invasion.

8-month-old baby dies after EMT refuses to respond to call, officials say.  A Detroit EMT has been fired after refusing to respond to a call to help an 8-month old baby who was not breathing.  According to WDIV, Ann Marie Thomas had finished another call less than a mile away when an EMS supervisor ordered Thomas to respond to the call for service.  It's just a two-minute drive away at normal speeds, but Thomas took 6 minutes before telling dispatchers that she had parked around the corner from the scene.

Detroit EMT refuses to respond to infant in cardiac arrest.  The EMT told her boss in an internal investigation 'I'm not about to be on no scene 10 minutes doing CPR.'

Detroit EMT Refuses Call to Do CPR on Dying Child.  We certainly hope the family of this little girl has retained the meanest, nastiest, greediest personal injury lawyer licensed to practice in the state of Michigan.  It's not worth much these days, but they should get the City of Detroit in a settlement.

Congress alarmed by plans to use Russian system to route 911 calls.  Plans to route 911 location calls via Russia's GLONASS satellite system have sparked national security concerns among some members of Congress, despite assurances that its use will be limited and it will help save lives in emergencies.  Chairman of the Armed Services subcommittee, Rep. Mike Rogers, has sent an angry letter to the Secretary of Defense and Director of National Intelligence (DNI) after learning about the intentions of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Family calls 911 when intruder tries to enter home, waits hours before police show up.  [Terri] Bice believes it wasn't the door, but barking from Molly that stopped the intruder in their tracks.  So, she did what anyone would do.  Grabbed her phone and dialed 9-1-1.  She got no answer.  "We all know about first responders and what their importance is that's not going to happen if no one answers," said Bice.  She documented her calls for help:  two to 911; two to the NOPD's non-emergency line; and one to NOPD's Second District.  The final call was answered and Bice confirms an officer showed up two hours after the attempted home invasion.

Florida man calls 911 during home invasion, gets transferred to voicemail.  A Florida homeowner who called 911 during a violent home invasion Wednesday morning [6/11/2014] was transferred to voicemail at the height of the incident when the dispatcher tried to pass the call from the fire department line to police, MyFoxTampaBay.com reported.  Women could be heard screaming during the wait as the recording advised, "If this is an emergency, hang up and dial 911."

Call 911, Wait two hours; Buy Gun.  On March 16, Teri Bice awoke to the sound of someone trying to break down the door of her home in New Orleans.  She did what most Americans would do:  dial 911.  One big problem, there was no answer at the other end.

DC 911 Puts Woman on Hold... During a Home Invasion.  When seconds count, the cops are minutes away or... they put you [on] hold.  A Washington DC woman was recently the victim of a home invasion and when she called the police for help, the 911 operator made her wait.  As a reminder, the average crime happens in one minute.

Milwaukee Sheriff: Calling 911, Waiting Not Best Option for Defense.  Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. has released a 30 second public announcement calling on the citizens of Milwaukee to familiarize themselves with a firearm and aid the police in defending life between the time they dial 911 and the time the police arrive.

Sleeping 911 Operator Cost FL County $75,000.  Pasco County, Fl. owes a family $75,000 because of a 911 operator who grew frustrated with a caller and dropped the call to fall asleep while the caller's girlfriend died due to choking.  According to WTSP out of Tampa, Nancy McGhee died while choking on food because when her boyfriend called 911, the certified operator grew frustrated and passed the call along to his subordinate.

911 Caller Murdered, Now Dispatcher Is Fired.  A Denver (Colo.) 911 dispatcher has been fired for mishandling a 911 call from the victim of a road rage incident who was later murdered when he returned to the scene of the incident at the dispatcher's instruction.

This could happen here, too ...
Couple plan to sue RCMP over 911 reaction.  A North Vancouver couple has complained to District of North Vancouver council and said they will sue the North Vancouver RCMP after officers responded to their hang-up 911 call by breaking down their door, making a forceful arrest and jailing them overnight when the couple refused to allow a house-search. ... North Vancouver resident Marget Lieder said that in the early evening of Oct. 25 she was having wine with her partner and a guest when she misdialed the emergency number, meaning to call 411 instead. ... "I don't want my privacy to be invaded just because I misdial a number," she said.

And even if you dial 911 when you need it, there are no guarantees.
Woman Waits 35 Minutes On 911 While Intruder Breaks In.  A Williamson County woman fought off an intruder with a vacuum cleaner.  She was desperate for help, waiting for almost 35 minutes for law enforcement to arrive.  The single mom described that 35 minutes like the scene of a horror movie as she watched a man walk from windows to doors doing anything to break in to her home.

Caller desperately seeking help gets sleeping 911 operator instead.  The unidentified employee was placed on administrative leave after a panicked woman whose husband was turning blue called for help — and heard nothing but snores.  "Hello? Hello? Hello?" the caller asked as the sleeping operator snored away on the tape acquired by NBC4 News in Washington.  "Now he's all blue," the crying woman said at one point to the sound of sawing wood.

Teenage hiker's calls ignored; no street address.  Teenage hiker David Iredale used his cell phone to call Australia's equivalent of 911, seven times pleading for rescue after he became lost in tough scrubland and ran out of water in 100-degree heat.  Each time he got through, he was told he needed to give a street address before an ambulance could be sent.  Shortly after the final call, Ireland collapsed and died of thirst.

Big Brother Is Tracking You.  Many new cell phones come equipped with tracking devices that can pinpoint the location of the phone to within 30 feet.  The feature offers lots of possibilities both to users and law enforcement. ... Even the simplest phones now have enhanced 911 capability mandated by federal law, which can detect a caller's location within a broad area through triangulated radio signals sent to cell towers.

Pocket-dialed 911 calls increasingly common.  Police here in Ontario, Canada, have been seeing a substantial increase in the number of false-alarm calls to the emergency phone number 911 when no call was intended at all — "pocket dialing" ... In Toronto, about 10% of 911 calls in 2011 were pocket-dialed calls.

Verizon customer calls phone alarm 'dangerous'.  An Austin woman who dialed 911 recently discovered what she said could be a fatal flaw in some new cell phones.  "I think it's a danger to everyone," she says.  Carol, who asked that her last name not be used for fear of making herself or her land a target for vandals, called for help recently when she arrived at some vacant property she owns in east Austin and found her security chain gone.

Verizon phones make an audible alarm when 911 is dialed.  Just the thing for those hostage and robbery situations — I don't think:  "The alarm is not ear-splitting, but it is loud enough to be heard at least several yards away."  Verizon claims the FCC requires this.  The FCC says it's not that stupid.

Amazing:  We CAN live without 9-1-1.
No Deaths Related to 911 "Total Failure".  There were no reported deaths as a result of the "total failure" of 911 call centers throughout northern Virginia this weekend.  Residents in the City of Manassas, Manassas Park, Vienna and Fairfax and Prince William counties were told to call alternate phone numbers, send emails or drive to their nearest police or fire station if they had an emergency.

Dispatch Magazine On-Line:  News and information about public safety communications.

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Updated October 19, 2017.

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