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Fayetteville Police Say More People Need to Call 911, Not Them

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FAYETTEVILLE — 911 is the number to call in an emergency. Of course there are those people who call 911 for non-emergencies. But in Fayetteville, police are having the exact opposite problem.

More than 100 people a day call the Fayetteville Police Department instead of 911 operators. In an emergency that could easily end up with the caller wasting 5 to 10 vital minutes.

"It's very important for them to call 911," says 911 coordinator Sandra Everett. "Any time they need police, fire or medical response they should call 911."

Police say hundreds of people with real emergencies are not calling 911. Instead, they are calling the police department's teleserve office. Police say the callers are either afraid to tie up 911 lines, or they do not know what qualifies as a 911 emergency.

"It's important that they call 911 because we have a location and a number identification," Everett said. "Whenever we receive 911 calls, that information is provided to us."

When a resident calls teleserve, operators have no idea who the caller is or where the call is coming from. And if the caller is alone and having an emergency, it could end up being a deadly mistake.

Police are alarmed because they say more and more callers are making the wrong call every day.

"In a normal day right now, we're running an easy 100 to 125 calls in a 24-hour shift that should have gone to 911," says Lt. Ron Snyder with the Fayetteville Police Department.

Police say that if you need a police, fire or medical response, then you should call 911. Otherwise, they say you should call the police department.

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John McDonnell, Reporter
Doug Bricker, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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