BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – When the Briarcliff Manor Police Department receives a 911 call, it is not going to take any chances – especially if someone hangs up early.
Many police departments in Westchester County, like the Village of Ossining Police Department, will send a patrol car if a dispatcher is not able to get in touch with someone who calls 911 and hangs up. Briarcliff Manor police, however, send a patrol car every time.
The department receives more than 100 calls each year in which people hang up after dialing 911, said Police Chief Norman Campion. While most hang-ups reveal that someone accidentally hit the numbers, Campion and his department would rather send a car and be sure.
“It’s not very often, but we have had a 911 hang-up and in reality there is a serious emergency happening at the house,” Campion said Wednesday. “We send officers to the house so we can be sure that nothing is happening.”
Dialing mistakes happen frequently, Campion said, noting that with a 914 area code and most numbers in the village beginning with 941, hitting 911 is relatively common.
“We get quite a few 911 misdials,” he said. “That 4 is directly below the 1 on that dial pad so it does happen a lot for us. We get several a week.”
Campion recommended that people who mistakenly dial 911 stay on the line with the dispatcher and confirm the mistake. But Campion added that village residents should also be aware that a patrol car will be sent to the residence even if the call was a mistake.
“It helps us greatly if they tell us that it’s a mistake,” Campion said. “But you never really know what’s happening. The person on the other end could sound like nothing is wrong, but they might be being forced to say something, particularly in a domestic violence situation. That has happened before.”
After a hang-up, Campion said, patrol cars will ensure that there is no emergency at a residence by knocking on doors and assessing the overall look of the residence to determine if there is an emergency.
“Again, you just never know, so we want to be sure there is no emergency,” Campion said. “We are going to do whatever we can to make sure they are safe.”