Excessive 911 callers may face fees

September 30, 2008 7:12:44 PM PDT
Belmont city officials are considering charging excessive 911 callers a fee. They say many of those calls are not emergencies and they tie up police resources and cost the city money. Those who make excessive service calls to police in Belmont, including 911, may be charged a fee. That's because it costs the city a lot of money each time police respond.

"There's certainly personnel costs, equipment costs. There's vehicle, gasoline, records and support, dispatch," says Capt. Dan DeSmidt, Belmont Police.

After the issue was brought up in the City Council, police compiled a list of the most frequent callers. Carlmont High School topped the list of police responses this past year. Officers went to the campus 393 times.

But, most of those calls were not emergencies, just routine visits by school resource officers.

A Motel 6 on the outskirts of Belmont called police 208 times this year. Unlike the high school, police say most of the calls here were for assistance.

"We have everything from traffic problems to arguments to people fighting. All kinds of things," says Capt. Dan DeSmidt, Belmont Police.

A Motel 6 corporate official told us it's pre-mature to comment on the proposal, but says its employees are pro-active and call police when they notice suspicious activity.

Among other frequent callers is Safeway. It's the biggest property in Belmont and has made 246 calls in a year, most for traffic and parking issues.

Tenants from the Bonnie Brae Terrace Seniors Apartment Complex called police 181 times.

Vice Mayor Bill Dickinson introduced the proposal. He hopes it will encourage excessive 911 callers to make only those calls that are truly emergencies.

"Residents picking up the phone, calling saying they hear somebody outside their windows, we're not going to look at taking those services away or making it pay per use," says Dickinson.

The City Council is expected to consider the proposal at its next meeting in October.


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