Police have once again been receiving complaints from residents after issuing an Ontario Amber Alert at around 3:00 AM on Thursday. The alert was for two young boys, ages two and four, and their grandfather who had last been seen in Newmarket on Wednesday afternoon. Thankfully, a Toronto Police constable located their vehicle on Lake Shore Boulevard early Thursday morning. Authorities were able to resolve the matter without incident and cancelled the alert shortly thereafter.
According to CP24, it was initially reported that the grandfather had dropped his wife off at a plaza across from Southlake Regional Health Centre, near Davis Dr. and Lundy’s Lane at around 1:30 PM Wednesday. The 70-year-old was supposed to park the car before joining his wife, but instead, he drove away with the two boys in the vehicle.
Not much is known about the grandfather's condition at the time, but police have described him as a “confused and vulnerable person.”
According to CBC, York Regional Police emergency dispatchers were forced to deal with several complaint calls overnight from residents who were upset that the alert woke them. Journalist Jeremy Cohn claims that "some of the calls have been abusive and very rude."
"We apologize for the inconvenience, but when there are kids' safety at risk, we pull out all the stops, and this was just one of the tools that was being used,” York Regional Police Const. Andy Pattenden said while explaining how police dealt with the calls.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that police have dealt with complaints about sending out a late-night Amber Alert. Back in May, Toronto Police were forced to release a statement about a flood of inappropriate calls to their communications centre.
Once again our Communications Centre has been receiving a number of calls from citizens using it as a platform to c… https://t.co/VSPd1dlSbW— Toronto Police Operations (@Toronto Police Operations)1557831889.0
A similar incident occurred back in February when an Amber Alert was issued for 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar from Brampton. Peel Police received several complaints when a notification about her disappearance went out late at night. Rajkumar was later found dead in her father’s basement apartment.