Niagara Regional Police are reminding the public that Amber Alerts work and that calling 9-1-1 to complain about them only takes operators away from answering calls for actual emergencies.
To reinforce the importance of that message, police have released audio from one of the calls they received during Tuesday morning’s Amber Alert.
“I wanna know who the hell is sending these alerts out?” the caller asks.
“What right do you have to send an alert out to Niagara Falls, wake me up at five o’clock in the f*****g morning?”
911 is intended for emergencies only. Calling to complain about an #AmberAlert ties up precious resources for others who may need help. We received 10+ complaint calls over yesterday's alert for a 3 year old child believed to be in imminent danger. #AmberAlertWorks pic.twitter.com/04aLkAyyw5
— NRPS (@NiagRegPolice) May 15, 2019
However, not everyone had a negative reaction to the Amber Alert. One caller to the 680 Newsroom supported the program and had a message to complainers.
“A lot of people were complaining about the Amber Alert and to them I say … shut up! A child is missing. It can wake me up all night long. I’m good with that,” she said.
Greater Sudbury police issued the alert at about 5 a.m. alleging the boy had been abducted by his mother and were possibly on a bus to Toronto on Monday.
The boy was found safe near Fort York at 8 a.m., and another alert went out to the public.
Later that same day Toronto police tweeted out a similar warning about callers not tying up 9-1-1 with complaints.
Once again our Communications Centre has been receiving a number of calls from citizens using it as a platform to complain about being awaken by the Amber Alert.
9-1-1 is for EMERGENCIES ONLY. Please help us to keep our phone lines free for real emergencies. Thanks^adc
— Toronto Police OPS (@TPSOperations) May 14, 2019
When asked about the people who called 9-1-1 to complain about the alert, Ontario’s Solicitor General Sylvia Jones sent them a direct message.
“If I could speak to those individuals who called 9-1-1 — you’re actually making it more challenging for us to find these missing children. You’re making it more challenging for the police officers to do their job. Please do not call 9-1-1 unless you know it is an emergency,” she told CityNews.
Complaints about the alerts should actually go to the CRTC — the contact page is on the web.