Woman launches petition to fine Amber Alert complainers
An online petition that calls for fines to be levied against people who call 911 to complain about Amber Alerts is gaining momentum.
The Change.org petition to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and the province’s attorney general Doug Downey was launched recently by a Toronto woman.
“Ever since the Emergency Broadcasting System was brought to our phones, people have started to complain about being woken up in the middle of the night by said alerts, mostly Amber Alerts,” Dalia Monacelli wrote in her petition.
She went on to describe being woken up by the Amber Alert that was issued for 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar of Brampton, who was found dead inside her father’s home in February. The girl’s father was later charged in her murder.
“While this was happening, some people [a lot of people] decided to start calling the emergency lines to complain about the Amber Alert because it woke them up and ‘they couldn’t do anything about it anyway’ or they were ‘too far’ from where the Amber Alert had originated,” Monacelli stated. “These people went on living their lives which were disrupted for all of two minutes, while the little girl was no more. They were never fined for taking time away from real emergencies.”
Monacelli called the continued Amber Alert complaint calls to 911 “absurd” and stressed they have to stop.
“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,” wrote Monacelli. “Please, take a moment to sign this petition and make sure these non-emergency callers get fined for their crime.”
By Monday afternoon, more than 57,400 people had signed the petition.
Following the most recent Amber Alert, issued earlier this month when two boys went missing in Newmarket with their grandfather, police were forced to defend their decision to send out the emergency notification during the early hours of the morning.
“The OPP recognizes the inconvenience the alert may have caused, but will not apologize for using all of the tools available to help locate a child,” read a statement. “The only option to not receive these alerts to a mobile device is to have your device turned off. However, if your device is turned off, you will be unable to receive any emergency alert that may contain information of imminent danger in your area.”
So far this year, Amber Alerts have been issued on five separate occasions in Ontario. Four resulted in the safe return of children.
To view the petition click here.