Hamilton

'I don't give a shit': Police release 911 call complaining about Amber Alert

Niagara Regional Police have released the audio of a 911 call in which the caller swore at the operator and complained about an Amber Alert message on his phone.

Alert was for child who'd gone missing in Sudbury, Ont., then seen boarding bus to Toronto

Toronto police found a three-year-old boy, who was the subject of an Amber Alert, and his mother safe at an address near Toronto's lakeshore on Tuesday morning. (Linda Ward/CBC News)

Niagara Regional Police have released the audio of a 911 call they received this week from a caller who swore at the operator and complained about an Amber Alert message sent to his phone.

Police said in a tweet they received more than 10 complaint calls after an Amber Alert was issued for a missing three-year-old boy in Sudbury, Ont., who was believed to be in "imminent danger."

In addition to a text, an Amber Alert sends a loud alarm to nearby phones — in this case, to all phones in Ontario at 5 a.m. Tuesday, after the child's grandmother in Sudbury reported him missing, and the child and his mother were seen boarding a bus to Toronto, which is about 400 kilometres south.

"Niagara emergency, do you need police or ambulance?" the dispatcher asks on the recording.

"I want to know who the hell is sending these alerts out," the man says. "What right do you have to send an alert out to Niagara Falls, wake me up at five o'clock in the f--king morning?"

Niagara Regional Police have released audio from a 911 call, where a man complains about an Amber Alert for a missing child. 0:39

The dispatcher replies that the message was to help find a missing child.

"I don't give a shit! OK?" the man bellows. "Are you out of your mind?"

Police forces across Ontario have issued warnings in recent months to people who receive the Amber Alert alarm on their phones not to call 911 to complain about the system, which sends a widespread alert to nearby phones.

"911 is intended for emergencies only. Calling to complain about an Amber Alert ties up precious resources for others who may need help," Niagara police said in a tweet.

Sudbury police said this week that a call to a tip line from a woman being sought as part of the alert helped to locate her and her three-year-old son.

The two were found safe at an address in downtown Toronto near the lakeshore.

Greater Sudbury Police Service spokesperson Kaitlyn Dunn said earlier this week that the mother and child are in good health, and Sudbury police will investigate to determine "the intent of taking the child" and whether any charges will be laid.

"A child's safety does trump somebody's sleep," she said.

"We felt it was necessary to put out the Amber Alert in order to ensure he was safely found and it did just that: he was safely found."

adam.carter@cbc.ca

About the Author

Adam Carter

Reporter, CBC Hamilton

Adam Carter is a Newfoundlander who now calls Hamilton home. He enjoys a good story and playing loud music in dank bars. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamCarterCBC or drop him an email at adam.carter@cbc.ca.

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