A new bill could make prank 911 calls a gross misdemeanorMinnesota (WDAY TV) -- Minnesota lawmakers are putting their foot down when it comes to prank callers. Lawmakers introduced a bill, that would make it a gross misdemeanor to report a fictitious emergency.
Minnesota (WDAY TV) -- Minnesota lawmakers are putting their foot down when it comes to prank callers. Lawmakers introduced a bill, that would make it a gross misdemeanor to report a fictitious emergency.
If the point of the fake call is to lure police with intent to assault them, charges would stiffen.
Lt. Tory Jacobson "It does sometime happen"
One too many times, has veteran police putting a stop to the calls. But in most cases, Lieutenant Tory Jacobsen says it's just kids.
Jacobson/Moorhead Police: "Those are teaching moments where they're aware of the 911 and aren't aware that it's going to bring police and fire to their house."
Other times, what may seem like a prank, turns out to be an actual emergency.
Jacobson: "We receive those calls sometimes just to get police in the area and we may not even get to speak to the person that made the call"
And because it's hard to decipher over the phone, authorities say it's their duty to respond, but with caution.
Here in the valley, fake 911 calls don't happen that often but there have been extreme cases in Minnesota.
Rep. Tony Cornish (R): "A person called and made up a fake 911 call and the police responded and it was for the purpose of attacking and assaulting the police."
Representative Tony Cornish is co-author of the bill which would make both misleading texts and fake phone calls into emergency dispatch, a crime.
Intending to lure and assault police would give grounds to charge the callers with a felony.
Cornish (R):"What we are trying to do is say, this is no joking matter and if you're going to screw around then you're going to get charged and have to face those consequences."
Cornish is also a retired police chief and knows the struggle of losing a brother in blue. Like Officer Decker, who was ambushed and gunned down after an emergency caller lured him and his partner into the deadly situation.
Jacobson: "If you're being sent to an unknown 911 call, you realize there's an extra caution that should be taken. But the officers are trained and with their experience, they know to proceed with caution."
The new bill is first headed to the House Public Safety Committee.