Amber Alerts really seem to divide the population, eh? One person has had enough of the negativity, though, as an Amber Alert petition is advocating for those people who call 911 to complain about the emergency notifications to be fined. The petition, hosted on change.org, had nearly 57,000 signatures as of Monday lunchtime.
Complaints surrounding Canada's emergency notification system flared up again recently after an alert was sent out regarding the disappearance of two young boys in the Newmarket area. Thankfully, both children were found safe.
While those people phoning 911 in indignation unsurprisingly get a lot of the headlines, it seems there are plenty of people far more bothered by the complainers than by the alerts themselves.
That's if Dalia Monacelli's petition is anything by which to judge. Started around two weeks ago by the Toronto mother-of-one, it has racked up not only tens of thousands of views but has started a conversation as to whether it is right to sanction those 911 callers.
"This is ABSURD. This has to STOP," reads part of the petition description. "People have to understand that when they dial 9-1-1, they are taking time and personnel away from actual emergencies and that these actions could COST LIVES!"
After seeing the umpteenth reminder made by @TPSOperations not to call 911 to complain about Amber Alerts, I got fe… https://t.co/UJTUqRjgN0— Dalia Monacelli (@Dalia Monacelli) 1563242584.0
Monacelli says she started the petition as a response to the amount of times police were having to ask the public to stop calling 911 to complain.
In an email she wrote to change.org which was shared with Narcity, Monacelli said: "After the latest Amber Alert, I read the umpteenth reminder from the Toronto police operations to 'not use the 911 line for anything other than emergencies.' That was when I said enough is enough.
"People have to understand that when they dial 911, they are taking time and personnel away from actual emergencies and that these actions could cost lives. I imagined what it would be like if my two-year-old son went missing and we lost an opportunity to get him back because someone was complaining about the alert. I knew I needed to try to put an end to this selfish and dangerous behaviour."
Meanwhile, Laura Dunens, Campaigns Director at Change.org Canada, added, as quoted to Narcity: "Dalia and over 55,000 people are rightfully upset that people are using 911 as a complaint line instead of for real emergencies and the issue has reached a fever pitch. We hope the province listens to these concerns and takes action."
There has not been an official response yet from federal or provincial police, but Niagara Regional Police said there is no current or planned fine system for people calling 911 about Amber Alerts.
The Solicitor General of Ontario, Sylvia Jones, told CBC News last week: "Complaining about receiving an Amber Alert is more than just insensitive - it's dangerous. People who use 911 as a complaints hotline are taking up critical emergency resources."
For the meantime, though, those 911 complainers may want to listen to an OPP sergeant's advice on how to avoid being woken up by repeated nighttime Amber Alerts.