Niagara Regional Police have released the audio of a 911 call they received this week from a caller who swore at the operator and complained about an Amber Alert message sent to his phone.
Police said in a tweet they received more than 10 complaint calls after an Amber Alert was issued for a missing three-year-old boy in Sudbury, Ont., who was believed to be in “imminent danger.”
In addition to a text, an Amber Alert sends a loud alarm to nearby phones — in this case, to all phones in Ontario at 5 a.m. Tuesday, after the child’s grandmother in Sudbury reported him missing, and the child and his mother were seen boarding a bus to Toronto, which is about 400 kilometres south.
“Niagara emergency, do you need police or ambulance?” the dispatcher asks on the recording.
“I want to know who the hell is sending these alerts out,” the man says. “What right do you have to send an alert out to Niagara Falls, wake me up at five o’clock in the f–king morning?”
The dispatcher replies that the message was to help find a missing child.
“I don’t give a s–t! OK?” the man bellows. “Are you out of your mind?”
Police forces across Ontario have issued warnings in recent months to people who receive the Amber Alert alarm on their phones not to call 911 to complain about the system, which sends a widespread alert to nearby phones.
“911 is intended for emergencies only. Calling to complain about an Amber Alert ties up precious resources for others who may need help,” Niagara police said in a tweet.
Sudbury police said this week that a call to a tip line from a woman being sought as part of the alert helped to locate her and her three-year-old son.
The two were found safe at an address in downtown Toronto near the lakeshore.
Once again our Communications Centre has been receiving a number of calls from citizens using it as a platform to complain about being awaken by the Amber Alert.<br>REMINDER:<br>9-1-1 is for EMERGENCIES ONLY. Please help us to keep our phone lines free for real emergencies. Thanks^adc
Greater Sudbury Police Service spokesperson Kaitlyn Dunn said earlier this week that the mother and child are in good health, and Sudbury police will investigate to determine “the intent of taking the child” and whether any charges will be laid.
“A child’s safety does trump somebody’s sleep,” she said.
“We felt it was necessary to put out the Amber Alert in order to ensure he was safely found and it did just that: he was safely found.”