The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar

Splash! Summer guide

HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Man accused of making malicious 911 calls

SNOHOMISH -- Police here are seeking harassment charges against a man accused of making dozens of malicious calls to emergency dispatchers.
The man, 46, of Snohomish, made at least 48 calls to 911 in recent weeks, Snohomish Police Chief John Flood said.
On one night alone, the man called 911 at least 20 times, according to the arrest report.
"He was verbally abusive to the call-takers," Flood said.
The man was intoxicated during many of the calls, records show. He made threats to the dispatchers and toward police.
The man has mental health problems, according to the report. His family is going through some issues, and he was frustrated after being told that 911 was not the right resource for him.
Neighbors and local businesses also have been logging complaints about the man's erratic behavior for at least a year, the chief said.
The dispatchers' supervisor asked the police department for help.
In most cases, telephone harassment is a misdemeanor under state law. The case has been forwarded to the city attorneys for charges.
Misuse of 911 systems is a problem nationwide, said Karl Christian, operations manager at SNOPAC, one of three primary emergency dispatch centers in Snohomish County.
Abusive or inappropriate calls tie up the phone lines and delay responses for real emergencies, Christian said.
"A case that gets to the level of harassment, such as this, is very rare," he said.
Flood has been with the sheriff's office more than 20 years. This is the first time he's seen 911 abuse lead to a criminal case, he said.
"It reached a point where we felt we had to take action through the legal system to put an end to this," he said. "Our attempts to reason with (the man) and resolve it at our level were not productive."
Each abusive call to 911 dispatchers could be considered an individual count of harassment, Flood said. The man had been warned by police multiple times.
"We want people to understand they can't abuse the system," the chief said. "It's vital."
The man was arrested July 20. On Wednesday, he remained booked at the Snohomish County Jail. He has some criminal history but no known felonies as an adult.
The Washington State Patrol also has reported problems with the man calling its dispatchers and being abusive, Flood said. Troopers reached out to Snohomish police, who are folding those complaints into the local case.
The man also is being investigated for making false reports to police.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

911 calls
Don't call for: information or directory assistance; if you're bored and want someone to talk to; need to pay traffic tickets; are reporting power and other outages (unless there is danger from downed wires).
If you call: Answer all questions; don't hang up; follow instructions and try to provide a precise location.
If it's a misdial, don't hang up. Tell the dispatcher what happened so he or she will know there isn't an emergency.
Don't text 911.
For more information, go to http://tinyurl.com/making911work.
Source: SNOPAC
Story tags » SnohomishCrimePoliceEmergency Management

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus

HeraldNet highlights

Determined to overcome
Determined to overcome: As Oso couple rebuild their lives, they focus on the good
A perfect picnic
A perfect picnic: What you need for a romantic date or a family trip
Opportunity knocks
Opportunity knocks: Lynch’s holdout opens door for Seahawks' Michael, Turbin
Hangover? What hangover?
Hangover? What hangover?: Expectations nothing new for Super Bowl champions