Phones were ringing off the hook at the 911 dispatch center for
Carpentersville, Illinois. Something foul was amidst. But it wasn’t a natural disaster or other calamity that was causing such commotion, but rather a preschooler who learned a little too well
how to dial 9-1-1.
The 4-year-old girl used a deactivated cell phone to call 911
dispatchers 287 times in June, unbeknownst to her mother. The
child had called as often as 20 times a shift according to 911 call
center operators. Dispatchers could hear the child’s voice, but
were only able to track the phones signal to the apartment com-
plex in which she lived. Under Federal law, deactivated cell
phones are still able to access 911.
Driven to the brink of exhaustion by their talkative mystery girl,
authorities used a clever trick to draw her out of hiding … McDonald’s. “We asked what she wanted, she said she wanted McDonald’s,” said Steve Cordes, executive director of QuadCom’s emergency center, which covers Carpentersville.
“We talked with her, and we convinced her if she told us where
she lives, we would bring her McDonald’s,” he said. “She finally
gave us her address. So we sent the police over-with no McDonald’s.” Police arrived at the girls doorstep, and after a good scolding, the child’s mother took away the phone. All was good in Carpentersville once again.
So parents, make sure your child knows the importance of only
calling 911 in an emergency. It’s either that, or keep them well fed
on McDonald’s, and remind them that the classic ‘Would you like a treat?’ lure can be used by unscrupulous 911 dispatchers as well as strangers.