In Your Corner: Mysterious 911 Calls

By Ryan Elijah

June 18, 2010 Updated Dec 4, 2009 at 9:01 AM EDT

Over the past 9 months, 9-1-1 dispatch has received nearly a dozen calls from David Bauman's Allen County home, the problem is, he lives alone and never dialed the emergency number.

David Bauman "the dispatchers at 911, I almost know them personally they call so often. I just tell them it's a mistake and check the history"

In March, David switched his phone service to Comcast, he figured this had to have caused the 9-1-1 problem, but technicians have not been able to pinpoint the problem. David has kept a list of the numerous times he's been called, in each case, he tells the dispatcher that's it's a mistake. If he's not home, a sheriff's officer has to come to his house. One call came in the middle of the night and David was awakened by an officer knocking on his door.

David Bauman " "it's distressing, but more importantly, it's pulling police officers off other work that they could be doing"

According to the Allen County Sheriff's office they've had a dozen calls in the past year that are determined to be the result of an equipment failure like David's. In each case the dispatcher asks the homeowner to contact the phone company.
The Fort Wayne police department also told me that about 80 percent of 911 calls are not true emergencies and often programmed cell phones or children are to blame. They try to cut down on the problem, knowing that each non emergency 911 call diverts an officer away from his patrol area.

Michael Joyner, Fort Wayne Police Department "potentially, the nearest officer that is near the 911 call has now been shifted to another call"

When we contacted the corporate office for Comcast, they told us David's problem is not at all common and they sent a technician to his house within 24 hours. Comcast gave us this statement saying they found a technical glitch that automatically placed a random series of outbound calls from the customer's home phone, including several to 911. The technician visited the home and made some adjustments, Comcast believes the issue is fully resolved.

When we spoke to David, he told us he was thankful that his 911 mystery had been resolved and that Comcast pledged to continue to monitor the problem. In the end, it's a victory for David and the police, we appreciate the quick action by Comcast to address the problem.

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