Cheyenne Passes Law Making Non-Emergency 911 Calls Illegal
If you call 911 and ask for directions, you may be getting more than directions -- you may be looking at up to six months in jail, up to a $750 fine, or both.
That's because the Cheyenne City Council on Monday night unanimously approved an ordinance (see below) making it a crime to interfere with emergency calls and the emergency reporting system.
"Essentially what this does, one you can be subject to a misdemeanor for interfering with someone making a 911 call, but you could also be subject to a misdemeanor if you call 911 when it's not an emergency," said Ward II Councilman Dr. Mark Rinne.
"The reason this has been proposed is that I think the 911 system is abused by some people," he added.
Ward III Councilman Richard Johnson says he's hopeful the new law will reduce hoax propagation across social media.
"Just over the last weekend there was a lot of Facebook chatter in regards to a hoax that had been brought up on TikTok about people putting zip ties around people's car knobs," said Johnson. "It was a symbol that you were being monitored for human trafficking."
"When people feel fear off of something they see on social media and then call into 911, you know looking for information and things like that, this can also be another deterrent that somebody might be cited for something that can be classified as an online hoax," Johnson added.
Due to a personal emergency, Mayor Patrick Collins was absent from Monday night's meeting.
9.04.070 - Interference with emergency calls; interference with emergency reporting system
A. A person commits a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months, a fine of not more than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750.00), or both, if he or she knowingly obstructs, prevents, hinders or otherwise interferes with the making or completion of a telephone call to a 911 system or other telephone or radio communication by another person to any emergency response personnel to request protection or other assistance from the emergency response personnel or to report the commission of a crime.
B. A person commits a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months, a fine of not more than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750.00), or both, if he or she knowingly calls a 911 system for a purpose other than to report a situation that he or she reasonably believes requires prompt service in order to preserve or protect human life, health or property.
C. For purposes of this section "911 system" means a telephone system consisting of network, database, services and equipment, using the single three-digit number 911 for reporting police, fire, medical or other emergency situations and enabling the users of a public telephone system, other technology or wireless telecommunications system to reach a public safety answering point to report emergencies by dialing 911. Section 2. Sections, paragraphs, sentences, clauses, and phrases of this ordinance are severable. If any section, paragraph, sentence, clause, or phrase of this ordinance is declared unconstitutional or otherwise unlawful, such declaration shall not affect any of the remaining sections, paragraphs, sentences, clauses, and phrases. Section 3. That this ordinance shall be in full force and effect upon approval and publication.