The Danger of Misusing 9-1-1 Calls

By: Kevin Clark
June 5, 2014 6pm

Madison, FL - On a daily basis in Madison County, 9-1-1 dispatch can expect anywhere from 3 to 15 calls that are non-emergency, prank dials, or hang-ups.

Sheriffs say not only does this take up the dispatcher's time, but it can be dangerous to those with 9-1-1 emergencies.

"Each time a 9-1-1 call comes in, it occupies one of those lines," said Ben Stewart, Sheriff of Madison County. "Until one of them is freed up, any new incoming 9-1-1 call is put on a rollover."

Misusing 9-1-1 may not sound like a big issue, but sheriffs say it's happening more than ever.

There are also set penalties.

"If a person calls and keeps misusing the system, we usually send a law enforcement officer to talk to them," said Juan Botino, Madison County 9-1-1 coordinator.

"If we can show that you did this maliciously and on purpose, your first offense is a misdemeanor, a first degree misdemeanor...you can be put in jail for it."

Officials say if you're not sure whether something is an emergency, use your best judgment or call the administrative hotline.


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