Police calls 911

Peel Police release list of ridiculous 911 complaints made during Amber Alert

Today in things nobody should ever have to say: don't call 911 to report that an Amber Alert has disrupted the hockey game you're watching on TV.

Peel Regional Police have shared a rather disturbing list of calls local 911 operators recieved after an Amber Alert went out for 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar on February 14.

The young girl was found dead in her father's Brampton apartment roughly one hour after said hockey game was "interrupted" by an emergency broadcast signal, though police say it was the Amber Alert that directly helped them locate her father (who was charged with murder and later died in hospital from a self-inflicted gunshot wound).

"I can't even begin to describe how disappointing and upsetting it is to read the comments, emails and calls to our communications bureau complaining about receiving an Amber Alert late at night," wrote Peel Police Media Relations Officer Cst. Akhil Mooken on Twitter after the alert was called off.

"I appreciate that a lot of people were sleeping but the immediate need to locate the child outweighed the momentary inconvenience that some people encountered," he continued.

"Tragically this incident did not have the outcome we were all hoping for but the suspect was located as a direct result of a citizen receiving the alert and calling 9-1-1. The system works."

Today, during a Peel Regional Police Services Board meeting in Brampton, the details about many of those disappointing calls were made public in a report titled Misuse of the 911 System.

Here are just a few of the comments callers made to 911 officers, as per the Brampton Guardian:

  • "No one can watch TV until this child is found. This will destroy our program, you can't take away TV completely, it has to be secondary"
  • "You have an Amber Alert that I can't get off my TV"
  • "How can I make a complaint about you guys abusing the National Emergency System?"
  • "She's with her father. I don't think this is a national emergency."
  • "This is an invasion of my privacy."
  • "We are trying to watch the Leafs game."

The report revealed that 383 people in total called Peel Police specifically to complain about the Amber Alert between 11:36 p.m. on February 14, when it was called for Riya, and 9 a.m. the next morning.

Out of all 430,111 total 911 calls made in the area last year, a total of 42 per cent were deemed "inappropriate" by Peel Police.

Thus, they've initiated a "911 Awareness Campaign," according to the Brampton Guardian, to educate the public on what an actual emergency constitutes.

"The inappropriate use of 911 calls is an ongoing concern for Peel Regional Police," reads the report presented in Brampton today.

"The (Peel police) Communications Centre recognizes that the misuse of the 911 system poses a risk to public safety as these calls can potentially delay legitimate 911 calls from being answered."

Lead photo by

Peel Regional Police


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