Amber alert complaints

Toronto police say people were complaining about the Amber Alert again

Another Amber Alert, another wave of people calling 911 to complain about the fact their phones made a scary noise.

It's as predictable, at this point, as a post-2017 episode of Modern Family — and just as obnoxious, if not downright harmful to society.

Toronto Police Service media relations officer Alex Li issued an all-too-familiar "stop calling us" plea on Tuesday night around 8 p.m. roughly three hours after an Amber Alert was sent out across Ontario for five missing children.

The children, whose ages range from 5 to 14,  are believed to have been abducted from the Niagara Region by their father, 49-year-old Ian MacDermid. They are still missing.

"ATTENTION: The Toronto Police have been receiving calls from the public complaining about the Amber Alert," wrote Li around 8 p.m. on Twitter. 

"Please do NOT call police to complain, instead find compassion and have the understanding to help locate these children!" he continued.  "Amber Alerts are issued for a reason."

Be that as it may, some people find the frequency and tone of the alerts excessive.

Some people find them excessive enough to actually call 911 or individual police departments to complain — and for every person who is said to do that, another 10 are waiting in the wings on Twitter to gripe about how horrible they are.

"If you're annoyed so much by an Amber Alert that you feel like you have to complain to someone about it... the carnivorous animals of the world need nourishment so go provide yourself as sacrifice," wrote one person in response to Li's tweet about the complaints.

"For those who complain about amber alert at night and now during the day and still complain. I have something to say to you: SHUT YOUR MOUTH," wrote another. "I have 3 kids and I don't care what damn time of day or night, I would want an Amber Alert for my children."

On the other side of the coin, some people still think they should be allowed to opt out of Amber Alerts, or modify them to be less alarming.

"While I agree with the alarm system what civilian police will have no experience with is how a combat veteran reacts to a sudden alarm," responded one person to Li's tweet last night. 

"This alarm's sound 'out of the blue' tiggers a high adrenaline conditioned response; esp harmful to those with PTSD."

"Yes, it's wrong to call 911 to complain about this, but why can't they change the sound to something else?" wrote another. "If it wasn't such a heart attack inducing noise, people would be less inclined to complain."

Whatever your stance, the issue remains hot fodder for debate every time it comes up. Still. Even in the middle of the day.

Lead photo by

Toronto Police Service 43 Division

Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

Toronto street is total chaos as drivers keep using the wrong lanes

Shooting at Trinity Bellwoods Park leaves victim with injuries

Toronto neighbourhood dismayed at state of historic building after vacancies

More than 25K Canadians are sitting on uncashed cheques worth $1.4 billion

TTC passengers complain of lack of air conditioning on vehicles during heatwave

Ontario is finally making it a lot easier to renew your driver's licence and health card

Work to prepare for the major shutdown of key Toronto intersection starts this month

GO Transit could see significant cancellations and delays due to staffing issues and strike