911 center phones clogged with non-emergency calls
Updated On: Jun 18 2013 05:21:47 PM CDT
The 911 Operations Center in Columbia says their phone lines are being clogged with calls that are classified as non-emergencies.
The center told ABC 17 News that in 2012, 65 percent of the calls that were taken were not actual emergencies.
Those calls tie up operators from dealing with real emergencies.
One such incident happened Tuesday night, when a Columbia woman was arrested for misusing emergency services.
Police say Veronica Thrower, 47, called 911 operators at least 14 times in under four hours. In one instance, she told the operator she was on her way home.
911 Operations Center employee Brian Maydwell said, "If somebody called in about a parking violation and someone was calling with a heart attack on the same line, and all our operators were busy on non-emergency calls at the time, it would actually delay our response to a 911 call."
Other phone calls the center gets are callers asking for the time, when a sporting event begins, what the bus schedule is, and questions about parking violations.
At minimum staffing, there is one operator for the entire Columbia and Boone County area. According to the 2012 U.S. Census, more than 160,000 people live in Boone County.
Copyright © 2013 KMIZ - The Networks of Mid-Missouri. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Two injured after falling from 18 feet in Stephens Lake Park
Wanted Columbia man arrested in northwest Missouri after long police chase
Detectives monitor more than 300 sex offenders in Boone County
Gunman in Washington school shooting ID'ed
Accused killer shares his side of the story: "I didn't do it, it was just an accident"
Jefferson City man arrested for shooting, drugs
Residents push to recall Columbia councilwoman
Proposition 1 sparks debate less than two weeks before election
Bus driver beats down would-be purse snatcher