Maine State Police - Troop F Handling of Accidental 911 Calls

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 6:58 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - It’s a number you dial in an emergency, but what happens if you dial 911 by mistake? News Source 8′s Cam Smith spoke with Maine State police about what you should do if you misdial. 

“911 what’s the nature of your emergency” 

A familiar phrase to everyone. But for some, it’s a phrase they hear by accident. 

“Those accidental calls like that, generally, the response we get is somebody will say oh no I called 911 by accident and then try to hang up really quick thinking it’ll just go away.” 

Lieutenant Brian Harris is the Commanding Officer for Troop F of the Maine State Police. He says these calls can be caused by a number of different situations. 

“We do get a fairly good number of what we call pocket dials, 911 misdials. Someone with these new cell phones, you can just hold the button just right or it will get stuck in your pocket or something, it may automatically dial the 911 number.”

In response to these accidental 911 calls, Lieutenant Harris says he understands that accidents happen, however the department still needs to do its job. 

“If you do accidentally call, it’s okay. We understand that’s going to happen and that it was just an accident but what we do ask is that you stay on the phone with the 911 operator, provide the information that they are asking for, for our records. You may have an officer show up at your door just to follow up and make sure everything is good. That’s okay with us, we would rather come to your house and find out it’s not an emergency than that you actually had an emergency and we didn’t respond.” 

Accidental or not, Lieutenant Harris explains that the officers treat every situation the same. 

“It’s happened to me several times throughout my career where the person says its not an emergency. Then we get to the house and realize that it is an emergency but they just couldn’t tell us. So one thing we always train our officers here is that whether it’s a misdial, whether it’s a person saying hey it’s an accident or it’s a true emergency, we treat them all the same until we know for a fact.”

Harris also adds that if you aren’t actually in an emergency and you dial 911 on purpose, it is considered a misdemeanor charge in the state of Maine.

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