Tecumseh Calling for Solution to End 9-1-1 Misdials

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Tecumseh is calling on smartphone manufacturers to take action when it comes to 9-1-1 misdials.

So far this year, the town has received nearly 1,100 false calls, and with officers forced to respond, the misdials have cost an estimated $160,000 in policing hours.

Mayor Gary McNamara says many municipalities are experiencing the same problem with an average of 30 false calls coming in every day across Essex County.

"What we've seen is a dramatic increase in the last two years and a lot of it is the development of new technology within the iPhones. There has to be some attention brought to that because of how easy it is for anybody from pocket dialling to a young child."

He says this is an easy target to cut down on policing costs.

"If we're going to try to find efficiencies in policing, there's a great opportunity. So it's bigger than us, it's bigger than the province or the country. It's going to take CRTC and the manufacturers of the technology in our phones to develop technology to make better use of the 9-1-1."

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Tecumseh council seen on November 12, 2019 (Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)

McNamara says part of the onus falls on residents as well.

"What we're hoping is that people start really paying attention as well to really be mindful that when that misdial goes on don't hang up because police are going to come. Answer the phone, have a chat with the dispatcher and so forth."

Tecumseh council has passed a motion calling on organizations like the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police to lobby the telecommunications industry to develop a solution to curb 9-1-1 misdials.

False calls to 9-1-1 cost OPP patrolled municipalities across the province an estimated $55-million each year.