Opinion Columns & Blogs

Too much 911 time wasted on mistaken cell calls

An Eagle article last week provided more evidence of the need for people to use their cellphones with more care and discretion, and underscored again why calls to 911 from any phone should be reserved for true emergencies. Deb Gruver reported that Sedgwick County 911 dispatchers received 89,726 misdialed 911 calls from cellphones last year, up from 80,517 in 2013 and 77,456 in 2012. And the waste can be greater than a few seconds each time: If an errant 911 caller sheepishly hangs up without an explanation (or an appropriate apology), the dispatcher is obligated to call back in case it was a real emergency. Whether the nearly 90,000 mistakes last year were due to “pocket dials,” children playing with phones or other reasons, they were costly distractions for the county as unnecessary as the reported nuisance calls to 911 in which clueless people have asked for driving directions, the jail’s phone number and weather forecasts, and tried to order or complain about burgers. – Rhonda Holman