Mistaken 911 call question

This is a discussion on Mistaken 911 call question within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Would like some LEO opinions on something. If someone mistakenly dials 911 they send the police to the address to investigate. Would that constitute probable ...

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Thread: Mistaken 911 call question

  1. #1
    Member Array bigiceman's Avatar
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    Mistaken 911 call question

    Would like some LEO opinions on something.

    If someone mistakenly dials 911 they send the police to the address to investigate. Would that constitute probable cause to enter even if the homeowner disagreed? If the homeowner would not open the door, (spoke to the responding officer through the door or intercom) would the officer have authority to force entry?

    I understand the LEO side, but I also understand that the homeowner has the right to their privacy and the sovereignty of their home. Recent incidents have led me to believe that if an LEO shows up at my door my best recourse is to keep the door firmly shut and locked until such time as they can prove they have a warrant. If not, and they believe they want to come in, it becomes a physical confrontation and the homeowner will almost always come out on the bad side of that physically as well as legally.
    But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself...
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    Member Array Chris Dawg's Avatar
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    I agree if your choice of actions leads you into a physical confrontation with the police more times than not you will lose legally.

    I am not a LEO or an attorney though.

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    Distinguished Member Array Reborn's Avatar
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    Your best bet is to open the door. If you don't that will just raise their suspicion about someone is need of help inside. If you are married and or have kids have them at the door with you when your answer.
    This should ease the LEOs and they probably will not come in.
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    Senior Member Array sheepdog's Avatar
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    mistakenly dials 911
    Open the door and explain it. We do get mistaken 911 calls. Sometimes, they are "explained" as mistaken when they aren't and we can figure that out, usually. We can't "just go away," but there are lots of investigative avenues open before we go in without permission.
    Mistaken calls happen. Children, and in one case....a CAT dialed 911. I would not have believed it if I had not seen it myself. The lady was quite shocked to see us at the door, and was quite willing to show us she was alone and not the victim of any violence. We did find that the cat had knocked over a flower vase full off water, and the water had hit a (portable handset) phone. The lady had 911 on speed dial (yeah, I know, but I saw it myself). Either the vase somehow hit the key to dial it, or the water caused a short that dialed it. Weird.
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    My neighbor told me that one morning a deputy showed up at his house inquiring whether everything was okay? He said they received a 911 hang-up call from his residence. My neighbor and his wife hadn't used the phone, and were still drinking coffee during all of this. The deputy asked my neighbor to let him see his wife, he said sure, of course she was fine. I don't remember whether she came to the door, or whether he invited the deputy inside. The deputy was satisfied and said that ever so rarely a 911 call will go out like that, but it is actually a glitch in the system somewhere.

    OP, I know this doesn't really address your question, but apparently a mistaken call can happen.
    Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.

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    New Member Array Wynder's Avatar
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    It's going to be an judgment call by the officer, they wouldn't necessarily need probable cause if they had reason to believe that exigent circumstances existed.

    This is what allows fire, police and ambulance to bust into your house without your consent.

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheepdog View Post
    Open the door and explain it. We do get mistaken 911 calls. Sometimes, they are "explained" as mistaken when they aren't and we can figure that out, usually. We can't "just go away," but there are lots of investigative avenues open before we go in without permission.
    Mistaken calls happen.
    The fourth amendment protects against warrant-less searches. The rest is up to you. Be tactful and avoid confrontation.

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    Senior Member Array digitalexplr's Avatar
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    Refusing to answer you door and just talk through it will not reassure the LEO's that it was an accidental 911 call.

    Imagine the public outcry should the responding LEO's just walked away because the person told them, through the door, that everything was OK, only to find out later that the family had been held hostage, the wife raped and the husband shot to death.

    A 911 call is considered a valid call for help until proved otherwise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Rod View Post
    The fourth amendment protects against warrant-less searches. The rest is up to you. Be tactful and avoid confrontation.
    Thats nice and all, But it's been ruled over and over that this type of scenario is not a "search". You called 911, therefore LEO's have the responsibility to investigate.

    Could you imagine the fallout if they did not look into things, and there was ten dead bodies stacked in the living room?
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    Could you imagine the fallout if they did not look into things, and there was ten dead bodies stacked in the living room?
    Ala Jeffery Dhamer...

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    One time my wife accidentally phoned 911. She had purchase a used phone with a pre-programmed one button push to 911 and didn't realize she even pushed that button. She never spoke to them and hung up the phone before she realized what she had done.

    When there was noone on the phone for the operator to speak with, she immediately called my home and asked me to identify myself, asked if all was O.K., who was in the house, who made the call (which I did not know had been made), and then stated that an officer would be over to check on us.

    We met him at the door, waved hi, and he left.

    In retrospect, he probably should have asked to come in. It could have been real, and we could have been two clowns standing at the door instead of the actual home owners. He should have asked for our ID, too.

    Anyway, it all worked out well, but I think if you refuse to talk or let them in, you are asking for trouble. In our case, it was helpful that the 911 operator had already spoken to us, and the officer didn't just show at the door without any notice or warning. That would have startled us, especially if he showed up with adrenaline going.

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    Once the call is made the LEO's have a duty to investigate the call to determine if it was an accident or not,you refuse to open the door and they will assume the call was legit and can force their way in,this is one of those cases where a little cooperation goes a long way.
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    VIP Member Array raevan's Avatar
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    I had a Phone that the key bord was shorted. Any time the 9 was pushed it called 911, even if the 9 was in the middle of the phone number. When it happened I wasn't aware it had dialed 911 because when the phone started to ring I just hung up. 911 operator called me back to verify if it was a real emergency, then the duty sargent called me, then the CO I guess. I got 3 calls because a phone was defective. No one came out to check at my house because I was able to convince them that it was an error.

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    Member Array bigiceman's Avatar
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    Thank you for the replies everyone. They have been inciteful and enlightening. I do respect the LEO community and wish to have good experiences always. I am just very leary of the abuse of authority. A posting here recently about an officer who asked to come in looking for someone and then forced his way in was what really sparked the question. If the door is never opened the officer could not have forced their way in. I know the circumstances are different with a 911 call, but that incident was the starting point for my question.
    But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself...
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    Revolutionary War Veterans Association Shooter Qualification: Cook

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    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raevan View Post
    When it happened I wasn't aware it had dialed 911 because when the phone started to ring I just hung up. 911 operator called me back to verify if it was a real emergency, then the duty sargent called me, then the CO I guess.
    It sounds like you can get faster 911 response by calling and hanging up than by talking to them!
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