Hoax 911 calls tie up local lines

By Sarah Pridgeon

Hoax 911 calls may seem like a harmless prank, but a rash of fake emergencies has tied up Sundance’s phone lines all too often in recent weeks. Local law enforcement has received multiple hoax calls, says Police Chief Todd Fritz, from young children who appear to be of elementary or junior high age.
Though the calls are obviously not real and there’s little risk that they will fool dispatch, he adds, it’s important that the 911 lines stay clear in case of a real emergency.
The culprits have yet to be identified, but law enforcement does have some idea of where the calls may be coming from. It’s possible, says Fritz, that they are using basic phones that can be purchased to make 911 calls only.
Alternatively, the hoaxers could be charging old phones that are no longer attached to an account. Though these will not make regular phone calls, they can still be used to dial 911.
Most of the calls have been made during the day. This could mean that the kids making the hoax calls are playing pranks during recess, says Fritz, or that they are home schooled.
Law enforcement requests that parents visit with their children to explain the importance of keeping the 911 lines clear. Additionally, please either secure your phones or turn old, unused ones in to Renella Thomas, Crook County Attorney’s Victim Witness Coordinator, as part of the “Secure the Call” cell phone drive.