Police investigate 911 misuse

Staff writer

Hillsboro police investigated misuse of the emergency telephone number 911 on Friday.

“It was a small child who called 911 several times,” police chief Dan Kinning said. “The kid was just playing with the phone.”

Officers generally talk to parents if a child has misused the number. He said officers use a “gentle approach” if parents ask them to speak to their children about an incident.

“We don’t want to deter kids from using 911 if they really need to,” Kinning said.

All 911 misuses are investigated because officers have to double check to make sure everybody is safe, he said.

“A lot of times we just have people hang up,” he said. “It becomes a priority to check on [the caller’s] safety. We’ve had angry spouses take away the phone and hang it up when their spouse called.”

He said 911 should be dialed only in the event of an emergency. Misusing it ties up the system for those who really need it and may cause longer response times on valid emergencies.

“It becomes a wild goose chase,” Kinning said. “We respond, and then there is nothing going on.”

Last modified Oct. 19, 2016

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