Have you ever been so upset that you got something for Christmas that you didn't actually want? Well, one 7-year-old boy in Ontario was so upset over receiving a pair of snow pants as a Christmas gift that he called 911. The boy's call was eventually determined to be a non-emergency and the Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Kerry Schmidt even tweeted about it.
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The call was reported to have come in during the early evening hours of December 25, Christmas day. Sgt. Schmidt added that the boy was angry that he didn't get the gift he wanted and wanted the police to help him to do something about it. Sgt. Schmidt also said the officers took the necessary steps to make sure that the call was not an emergency but police did not visit the boy's home to investigate.
CTVNews spoke with Sgt. Schmidt in a telephone interview Wednesday where he said the incident is "an awareness and educational moment" that prompts another reminder for parents and caregivers to talk to children about making 911 calls." Sgt. Schmidt continued, "Parents or caregivers need to make sure their children understand the consequences of calling 911 and what constitutes an emergency."
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Apart from the obviously non-emergency nature of the call, the police reiterated that such calls can take time and resources away from other priority calls where they could be making a much bigger difference. During a previous interview with CTV Kitchener, spokespeople from OPP said it takes about 30 minutes to investigate a 911 call from responding to relaying and physically reaching the scene.
Making non-emergency calls on the 911 line could put an unnecessary strain on officers and other police resources. "Kids need to realize that calling 911 is critical and serious," Sgt. Schmidt said. "We don't want to waste resources going after calls that aren't an emergency." It is unknown if any disciplinary action will be levied against the boy or his family.
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