911 Pocket dialing causes trouble for local police departments

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by Sachelle Saunders

Germantown, WI- They're practically glued to our hips. Smartphones. Always connecting even when we don't mean it.

But, what happens when that misdial is sent to a 911-dispatcher who is fielding emergencies and unsure if there is danger or simply carelessness on the other side. It is happening every single day at the Germantown Police Department.

"We had 15 of those cell phone 911 calls and 12 of those 15 were actually pocket dial calls," Lieutenant Todd Grenier said.

That was just on one day. The situation has left an already strapped department with even fewer people to respond to the real problems.

"We can't just not respond to the call, we still have to go to make sure everything is okay because we don't know if someone is in trouble or in need of our services," Grenier said.

Often times because cell phone coordinates aren't exact, police can be sent on wild goose hunt.

"If the person is mobile and walking or running or whatever in their vehicle, they're not there anymore," Grenier said.

The problem is not unique to Germantown police, it’s happening at stations everywhere and cuts into response times for serious situations. A simple solution is putting a lock screen on your phone.

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