911 Operators Answering More Wrong Numbers and Pocket Dials

LITTLE ROCK, AR - 911 dispatchers for the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office are seeing more mistake 911 calls than actual emergency calls, leading to a push for the public to make changes.

"70% of the calls we get are mistakes and we have to call back and it actually ties up our lines for actual emergency calls," Pulaski County 911 Dispatcher Shelby Hoffman.

"They are going to have to listen to it for a few minutes trying to figure out, you know, is there a disturbance going on, is this a fight, or is this a butt dial," says Lieutenant Carl Minden.

In each 911 mistake call, the operator must try to call back, and if no one picks up the protocol is to send help to the nearest location.

"The scenarios you see in the movies they took them from real life, so there are bad things happening, so we are going to send somebody," says Minden.

Wrong calls or not, Hoffman knows a job must be done, "At the end of the day it comes down to the fact of, you know, those 70 percent of disconnected cell phone calls you get, those are worth the one call that you get that actually did save somebody's life."

The Sheriff's Office is asking cell phone users to make changes to help ensure more 911 calls are legitimate.  The department is giving four tips.

1. If you have a disconnected cell phone, take the battery out.  Many disconnected cell phones can still dial 911.

2. Only let children play with cell phones after the battery has been taken out. 

3.  If you keep your phone in your pocket, make sure the keypad is locked.

4. If you have a phone with the emergency call on the main screen, make sure to remove it or keep the phone in a safe location where the emergency call will not get passed.


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