Thursday, May 31, 2012

Calls to 9-1-1 from whiners and liars can keep officers from real calls

By Mike Ullery
Chief Photographer

"I'm gonna tell. I'm gonna tell on you!"

How many of us heard that phrase during our childhood? Those same threats are still being made today. My guess is that the same whiners are making them.

The proliferation of cell phones have turned whiners into ... dangerous frequent whiners. Many of them are just liars who have an ax to grind.

I am talking about the enormous, (in my opinion), number of calls received by Miami County 9-1-1 that range from much ado about nothing to flat-out exaggerations and lies.

Law enforcement officials receive a number of calls during any given week to check out a reported "child endangering." Granted, officials cannot afford to take any call lightly. Each one is investigated.
What so often happens is that it is just a parent dealing with a family situation. Most of the time, they are just disciplining their child. Usually, it involves a parent, who believes as I do, that teaching a child right from wrong must occasionally involve a spanking, or similar punishment. Nowadays, if this happens within site of some bleeding-heart do-gooder, they call the police and a good parent finds themselves explaining their actions.

Another frequent report to police is of animals not receiving proper care. Usually, these calls report inadequate shelter or no food and/or water available to the pet. Again, no one wants to see an animal mis-treated. But, the cell phone whiners society just loves to stir the pot so they call to make a report. Sometimes, officers find a situation which warrants action. All too often, officers find that the report was somewhere between exaggerated and false.

People make accusations of vicious dogs. More often than not, the truth is, again in my opinion, that the caller is, in fact, just scared of dogs, period. Oh, and it seems to me that every caller who is making a complaint about a vicious or loose dog is observing a Pit Bull. It does not seem to matter that the true description of the dog running loose in the neighborhood is actually a ten pound bundle of fur with a wagging tail who is just enjoying his momentary freedom. The cell phone whiner reports ... a Pit Bull.

The same thing goes for many calls regarding "reckless drivers." How many of these calls are simply cases of a driver cutting someone off in a lapse of attention or judgement so the driver who was cut off thinks, "I'll show you." They then call 9-1-1 to report someone "Weaving all over the road, cutting off drivers ..."

I know for a fact, that most calls for assistance to the 9-1-1 center are real. I am not suggesting that anyone hesitate calling to report a real crime or emergency situation.

What I am saying, at the same time, is to stop and think before making a reactionary call to report something that just makes you mad.

Just because you don't like that someone is disciplining their child does not mean that they do not have the right to do so and it certainly does not give you the right to interfere.

If you see a child playing somewhere that doesn't seem right, how about doing things the old-fashioned way? Stop peering through your window shades, get off your lazy butt and go outside to see what is going on. Who knows, you might even meet your neighbor in person. What a novel concept.

I would like to see officers begin citing individuals who make complaints about non-existent problems or are just doing their best to exact revenge on someone who made them mad.

I would like to see that, but officers are already too busy running down calls for people who really need help. They don't have time to deal with even more frivolous things.

The bottom line is that if you need assistance or have a real crime to report, please call 9-1-1. If you do not have a legitimate reason for calling an emergency call center, what you are doing is potentially keeping emergency personnel away from someone whose life might depend on a quick response.

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