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Common Sense: Do not flood 911 with non-emergency calls

As bad as it is to spread false information and rumors at a time like this — and don’t get us wrong, that is awful — it is even worse to put a drain on first responders and tie up our emergency lines by making excessive and unnecessary 911 calls to tattle on folks who are out and about under a stay-at-home order.

A Wood County Sheriff’s deputy had to deal with one resident last week who reportedly called 911 five times in eight minutes “complaining about people being out and about and he was stuck at his residence,” according to a criminal complaint filed in Wood County Magistrate Court. He was charged with falsely reporting an emergency.

Across our region, law enforcement officials agree calls regarding potential violation of stay-at-home orders should not go through emergency channels.

“If they have a question, they can call (a non-emergency number). Don’t call 911,” said Wood County Chief Deputy Robert Sims. “We’ll try and answer questions as best we can.”

For many, stay-at-home orders mean our workload has changed — or, in some cases, disappeared. For our first responders, nothing has changed. Their workload is as heavy as it ever was. The last thing anyone should be doing is adding to it with frivolous calls that reveal far more about the caller than they do about the folks who inspired the complaint.

Use a little common sense, ladies and gentlemen. We are all in this together.

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