INDIANAPOLIS – A 911 call can often mean the difference between life and death, but what happens when first responders are tied up responding to prank calls and can't get to the real emergencies?
That's been the reality over the past week on Indianapolis' near east side after Marion County's 911 Center has been inundated with fake emergency calls.
The Marion County Sheriff's Office says they've all come from the same person - and they've answered more than 25 of those calls in the past week alone.
RTV6 obtained multiple recordings of the 911 calls, which sound like real emergencies. Each time the man reports that someone has been shot or critically injured and wants help sent as soon as possible.
The man disconnects the call shortly after that.
Click below to listen to the 911 calls:
Police officers are dispatched immediately to the scene, and firefighters and paramedics often respond as well.
Because the emergencies being called in are considered critical incidents, multiple police officers are dispatched to the reported scene from all over the police district, and that takes officers off the beats and neighborhoods they’re assigned.
“It's very disruptive,” said Carolea Walters, the Director of Marion County’s 911 Center. “It takes resources away from bona fide emergencies.”
Walters said it is just a matter of time before police officers or first responders aren't available to respond to a real emergency because they’re responding to one of these pranks.
"They cause a lot of harm to the system,” Walters said.
Call 6 Investigates has learned that IMPD has opened a full investigation into the prank calls, along with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
Neither agency will discuss the specifics of their investigation, but Call 6 has learned that they are utilizing technology that captures the GPS location from a cell phone when someone calls 911 among other methods to help locate the person responsible for the fake calls.
Police say if you know the person who has been making fake calls, or you recognize his voice call Crime Stoppers of central Indiana at 317-262-8477.
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