Dispatch center getting tough on nonemergency 911 calls

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PARIS – Some people are calling 911, but their reasons are wanting to know the weather, report a minor car accident, or some other nonemergency.

James P. Miclon, director of the Oxford County Regional Communications Center, said there has been an increase of nonemergency 911 calls, which creates a hassle for dispatchers and law enforcement agencies.

Many of the calls come from people trying to dial 411 for directory assistance, 211 for Health and Human Services questions and 511 for traffic information.

Others just come from people abusing the line, Miclon said.

In 2006, there were 19,764 calls to the 911 line. About 85 percent of them were legit, Miclon said.

The center has limited lines for 911, Miclon said. Those calls are given priority.

When an emergency call comes in, the caller’s information comes up on a computer screen. If the caller hangs up, local law enforcement is notified to contact the caller.

If one dials 911 by mistake, they should tell the dispatcher of their error. However law enforcement may still be notified, Miclon said.

“If they call the nonemergency line (743-9554), the dispatcher can put them in the right direction,” Miclon said.

About six people were charged with misuse of 911 last year, a criminal misdemeanor.

Miclon said dispatchers will warn people once. After the second time, they’ll be charged.

On Monday, the center was hit with all kinds of weather-related calls.

“A day like (Monday), with people calling in accidents and personal injuries, it causes a little bit of trouble,” Miclon said.

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