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Taber/Vauxhall RCMP still dealing with large volume of 9-1-1 hang ups

Posted on December 17, 2020 by Vauxhall Advance

By Cole Parkinson

Vauxhall Advance

The issue of 9-1-1 hang-ups are continuing to hamper the Taber/Vauxhall RCMP detachment.

Last month, the RCMP saw another 48 9-1-1 hang-ups in the Municipal District of Taber which is the third most this year following only June (60) and July (63).

As the issue has persisted for several years now, the RCMP are hopeful they can get the situation under control.

“I’m happy to say we currently have a plan in the works where one of our newest members is going to be tackling that particular issue,” said Sgt. Gord Yetman at the M.D. of Taber’s regular meeting on Dec. 8. “That will be a more in-depth thing that what we did previously and it will involve partnerships with various groups out in the community and whatnot. We’ll be getting some multilingual language out to some of our target groups that seem to be frequently calling 9-1-1 by accident. We’ll be doing that here in the very near future. Hopefully, we can drill down far enough to make some impact. I think it will be a very holistic approach to it and we’re going to involve the community members, and involve people to do translation services for us. There is going to be a lot of messaging going forward so I think that should prove to be a benefit.”

As in the past, one of the biggest instigators of 9-1-1 hang up calls continues to be deactivated cellphones.

“A fair portion of them are (deactivated cellphones). Our other biggest culprit is the 9-1-1 prefix which is virtually impossible to track down. I don’t even know how much success we have had tracking down a 9-1-1 prefix. And then we get some other calls that come in that will be a 30,000-metre radius from a cellphone tower. Well, that is a big search area and probably not one we will scour for a 9-1-1 because you’ll never find it,” continued Yetman.

“That are some of our challenges right now and we’re taking some steps to address that.”

As numbers in the M.D. continue to be sky high each month, council asked the RCMP delegation if other detachments have had similar 9-1-1 hang up numbers. “I have done some research and I have found that in this particular cluster of detachments, we are the highest. Again — it’s the perfect storm. Bow Island has the fraction of the calls we do for 9-1-1 and Coaldale is a fraction. Right now, we are the leader in these numbers,” answered Yetman.

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