911 Pocket/Butt Dials Causing Problems for MPD 9/12/13
PRESS Release from Midland Police Department:
Itís an embarrassing situation that plays out regularly.
A person sits down only to have the cell phone in his or her pocket dial a friend, family member or co-worker. The inadvertent caller continues about his or her day, unaware that the person on the other end of the line can hear everything.
This scenario is beginning to play out in an alarming way in Midland as an increasing amount of individuals have begun to accidentally "pocket dial" or "butt dial" 9-1-1. In August alone, dispatchers received 2,259 calls that either had background noise, side conversations, or were hang up calls.
The City of Midlandís Public Safety Communications Center must verify that there is no actual emergency during these calls, committing valuable time and resources. For example, if a dispatcher can hear the sound of an individual giggling in the background of a structure fire call, the dispatcher must verify that the call is or isnít an actual emergency.
Dispatchers must also call back to verify that everything is okay after a caller dials the number and hangs up before the call is answered. PSCC officials ask that anyone who accidentally dials 9-1-1 stays on the line to verify that the call is not an emergency, thus freeing up the lines for emergencies.
Some cell phones dial 9-1-1 at the push of just one button. Cell phone users can take simple steps to avoid inadvertently dialing the emergency number, such as locking the cell phoneís keypad or turning off the 9-1-1 auto-dial feature.
Even if a cell phone is disconnected from a service provider, it can still dial 9-1-1. The City of Midland advises parents to only allow children to use old cell phones that have the battery removed.