17 people take calls in Reno’s Emergency Dispatch Center. More than a third of calls are from cell phones with no emergency.
"We call them the butt dials, people sitting on phones, carrying them in pockets,” says Suzy Rogers of the Reno Police Department. She says 61,000 emergency calls last year were not really emergencies. Sometimes there were kids on the other end.
“Everyone has a smart phone these days. So The kids are playing angry birds or they are playing their game . . . and they override it when they dial 911.”
Rogers says Reno has had to hire more dispatchers to keep up with the calls.
“It's gotten to the point now we have such chronic offenders that when we call them back they answer the phone and say oops sorry, just another pocket dial.”
Sometimes, police use GPS to track a phone and find its owner. Reno already has laws calling for fines of 25-hundred dollars and/or jail time.
“We don’t want to have to do that, but the problem is people with legitimate 911 calls can’t get through to 911,” says Rogers.
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