Bogus 911 Calls Drain Resources

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

JACKSON (WILX)-- A woman in Jackson is facing charges after lying to police.

The sheriff's office says the 32-year-old made three calls to 9-1-1 Wednesday night. She reported two bogus shootings and a fake medical emergency.

"I need an ambulance, 119 Indian Trail.... Somebody's been shot" said the woman to dispatch.

That's a false report of a felony. She could also be charged with fleeing and eluding after taking off from a traffic stop and crashing into a patrol car.

Fake phone calls to 9-1-1 are a serious crime, but are more common than you might think according to Jackson County Sheriff Steven Rand.

"When you have an adult driving around making calls like this, that's not acceptable. We usually get them when someone is intoxicated or on drugs. But that was not the case with this woman," said Rand.

Rand says he doesn't know what prompted the woman to make the fake phone calls.

But no matter what call is about, dispatchers have to take them seriously. Even when a child gets a hold of the phone.

"You want us to come get your Nanna?" said the dispatcher.
"My Nanna's being mean," replied the child.
" She's being mean?"

"They're learning to use the resources available to them we don't mind that. That's a teachable moment for us, but we don't encourage it," said Sheriff Rand.

But adults should know better.

One of the most common problems dispatchers hear are adults exaggerating.

"Some people do it in an effort to speed police and fire response it's not a good idea because it puts lives at jeopardy."

Law enforcement has to respond to all calls, serious or not. That could mean consequences for someone who actually needs help.

"We had people responding to these calls throughout Jackson County. They could have been helping other people. You never know when a real heart attack or real issue comes in," said Rand.

Ingham and Eaton county are also dealing with these calls on a normal basis.

"There are time when people and maybe they are intoxicated or something and they are just ranting," said April Heinze, Director of Eaton County Central Dispatch.

This is an example of one of those rants.

"A shooting as in a three point shoot? Exactly. No one was shot with a gun then right? He shot me in the face with a basketball."

If you do have an emergency don't hesitate to call, but don't lie, and don't exaggerate. Law enforcement will be there to help.

Dispatchers tend to get a lot of calls from people around the holidays who just want information, like when the christmas tree lighting will be.
You're better off just using internet to find the answer.

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