911 Hang Ups Causing Problems For Area Law Enforcement

Law enforcement around the country are dealing with a rash of unintentional 911 calls coming from cell phones that are dialing the number as a result of settings on the phone that will automatically call the emergency number if certain buttons are pressed.

Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt says the problem is so bad in his county, that they made a public service announcement to try and get people to be more aware of the problem.

In the video, he says the sheriff’s department dispatch center has received over 2,500 911 hang up calls since the beginning of the year. An average of 20 calls a day.

Schmidt says when 911 is accidentally dialed and the caller hangs up without telling the operator that it was a misdial, an officer will be sent to the address that shows up via GPS on the 911 call, resulting in several hours a day in man hours used up that could be used responding to real emergencies and patrol efforts. Schmidt says to stay on the line, or answer the return phone call from dispatch to advise them all is OK.

Schmidt stresses you will not get in trouble for the misdial.

Other counties in Wisconsin are seeing 911 hang up calls doubling over last year’s numbers.

Dispatchers blame newly-implemented smartphone technology for the mishaps.

Several smartphone providers have equipped their phones with automatic crash detection technology and features which make it easier to dial 911.

Fond du Lac County has seen several iPhone crash detection calls, with many of them ending up being nothing more than the user dropping their phone.

Other phones have a setting where when the power and volume buttons are held down at the same time, 911 will be called. While this makes it easier to dial 911 during certain circumstances, it also has led to the uptick in misdials.

Schmidt says if you really don’t see yourself in a situation where you will need this feature, he suggests turning the feature off in
the phones settings.

The PSA the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office put out can be viewed here.