Marathon County Sherriff’s Office received 113 accidental calls on Saturday, many linked to Androids

Marathon County Sheriff's Office Communications Dpt.
Marathon County Sheriff's Office Communications Dpt.(WSAW)
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 8:02 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Accidental 911 calls are a regular occurrence with emergency dispatchers. On Saturday, the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office says it was taken to a whole other level.

“We see a large number of 911 hang-up calls, this was a little bit higher than normal,” said Lt. Cory Gladden, communications, Marathon County Sheriff’s Office. “I think it has a lot to do with the weather and people being active and out moving around with the great weather and enjoying the recreational areas.”

According to the department’s Facebook page, they found that most calls were made from Androids.

“There are two different ways that you can actually dial 911, some phones have a swipe feature on the screen where if you swipe it multiple times, it will dial 911,” said Joshua Geoffrey, manager, AT&T Weston. “And the other way is if you press the power button five times.”

Calls can be avoided with a simple fix by going into the settings and under the SOS section, you can turn that feature off according to Geoffrey.

However, it’s not just phones that are causing these calls.

“With smartwatches, some of those devices have a feature where you can also dial 911 from those,” added Geoffrey. “Such features as fall protection can also trigger that.”

While technology may be evolving before our very eyes, the sheriff’s office says the best they can do is ride the wave.

“Technology’s always going to be changing, it’s good and bad for our field,” said Lt. Gladden. We use a lot of new technology on the 911 dispatch side of things. It’s just, with anything new, it’s understanding how it works.”

Geoffrey actually suggested that flip phones can be useful in reducing the number of calls, specifically with those who are elderly or unfamiliar with updated technology.