Details of 9-1-1 calls declared a “misuse of the system” that were made during an Amber Alert issued for 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar have been released by Peel police.
Riya Rujkamar’s body was found in her father’s Brampton home in the early morning of Feb. 15, less than an hour after an Amber Alert had been issued when she failed to return from a birthday celebration with her father.
Roopesh Rajkumar was later charged with first-degree murder, but died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound suffered before he was arrested in Orillia.
Despite officers saying the Amber Alert led directly to the arrest of Roopesh, Peel police said they received several calls from people who were woken up by the alert and others who were angry that they had not stopped receiving the alert to their phone.
Both York regional police and Toronto police also reported people calling 9-1-1 to complain.
A report to the Peel Police Services Board on Friday, titled the “Misuse of the 9-1-1 System,” details some of those calls.
The report said 208 calls were placed to 9-1-1 in Peel region between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. on Feb. 14 and 15. More than 89 calls — or 43 per cent — were considered to be “misuse of the 9-1-1 system.”
One resident claimed the alert was “an invasion of my privacy” while another said, “We are trying to watch the Leafs game.”
Other examples include: “How can I make a complaint about you guys abusing the national emergency system?” and “She’s with her father, I don’t think this is a National Emergency.”
One 9-1-1 caller complained the Amber Alert was “destroying our [TV] program” and suggested police “can’t take away TV completely, it has to be secondary.”
The report adds they continued to receive calls complaining about the alert the next day. Some people even called to thank police for their service but officers say this was still a misuse of the 9-1-1 system.
Peel police have proposed continued work to increase public awareness of the proper use of 9-1-1 services, including social media campaigns and attending public events.
The report also mentioned preliminary research is being conducted on developing a three-digit number that would be used for immediate non-emergency calls.
Despite much public outcry over people calling 9-1-1 to complain about the Feb. 14 Amber Alert, Toronto police reported on Tuesday that several people called to complain about an alert about a 5-year-old who had allegedly been abducted. She was found safe and no charges were laid
The full report can be read following the Peel Police Services Board agenda here.