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October 1st, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 38
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Accidental 911 calls
could cost you money
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Stock Photo
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
Data obtained by the Pass Herald reveals that the Crowsnest Pass RCMP had received 66 false or abandoned 911 calls from the beginning of the year to Aug. 12.
“We get a high number of abandoned 911 calls here,” explained Crowsnest Pass detachment commander Kevin McKenna at a governance and priorities meeting on Sept. 9.
McKenna said some of the offenders are pocket dialers traveling eastbound from B.C.
“When people pocket dial on their phones and they do it in B.C. the first tower they hit sends a signal right to us,” he said.
A new piece of legislation is giving police the authority to hand out thousands of dollars in fines to people who make frivolous or false 911 calls.
The Alberta Emergency 911 Act, which was put into effect April 1, 2014, states that no person shall make a frivolous or vexatious 911 call. Fines for a first offence can be up to $5000 while second offences can cost up to $10,000.
continued below...


A representative from the Crowsnest Pass RCMP said they get from three to six false or abandoned calls per week but have yet to charge anyone for a frivolous 911 call.
“I don’t think anyone who accidentally pocket dials will be charged,” said the representative. “With the new touchscreen phones it’s so easy to make the mistake but lets say someone were to keep calling.”
The representative said it is up to the RCMP to interpret the Alberta Emergency 911 Act, which means detachment officers have the power to decide whether or not the system is being abused.
The representative said police are required to make a vigilant effort to contact people who abandon their 911 calls to make sure there is no emergency.
According to the Alberta RCMP, the force’s operational communication centres received more than 34,000 false or abandoned 911 calls in 2013.
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October 1st ~ Vol. 84 No. 38
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