- Our Town
Dialling 9-1-1 in an emergency isn’t new, but modern technology is creating a problem for police, especially in a small detachment like Ashcroft.
“We have a legal responsibility to attend to all 9-1-1 calls to verify their legitimacy,” says Sgt. Michel Grondin.
The idea is a good one and has helped hundreds of people get immediate help. However, “pocket dialling” is becoming a headache for those who have to follow up on every 9-1-1 call they receive.
Pocket dialling is when a cell phone carried in a pocket is activated by a body movement - often sitting - when a fold of clothing may come in contact with a button, for example. It can also happen in a purse. Many of the new cell phones come with a single key that can dial, or be programmed to dial 9-1-1.
“It’s getting worse and worse,” says Grondin. ‘Not only here in Ashcroft. It’s widespread.”
He says that whey they receive a 9-1-1, they will follow up by immediately calling the phone number to talk to the caller. If no one answers, they attempt to track down the owner of the cell phone.
By the middle of March, the Ashcroft Detachment had already had 12 “pocket dials.”
“It happens that we’ll walk away from something considered a lesser priority to answer the 9-1-1,” he says.
Grondin says cell phone owners can prevent unwanted calling by locking their keyboard, deactivating the 9-1-1 button or getting a hard case for their phone. He also asks that people answer their phones when police call back to follow up on the 9-1-1 call, in order to prevent time wasted in further investigation.
Occasionally, someone will intentionally call 9-1-1 as a prank, but those are different cases, and those callers will be investigated for mischief.
March 9 police were called to investigate mischief at a residence on Cliff Cres. in Ashcroft. A quick investigation into how a car’s windshield was shattered revealed branches from nearby trees were the culprit and caused the damage during the strong gusting winds hat went through Ashcroft the day before.
March 10 at 12:45 am police were called to a disturbance at the Oasis Hotel in Cache Creek where a group of six to 10 people were fighting in the parking lot. One 29 year old Cache Creek woman was located by police, suffering from head injuries. She had been ejected from the bar earlier and tried to get back in, which triggered the fight. She identified several individuals, mainly from the Cache Creek area, who may have been involved. She was taken to the Ashcroft hospital and treated for minor injuries. The matter is still under investigation.
Where there’s smoke...
March 10 at 4 pm police received a report of a possible brushfire on the Ashcroft Reserve after a plume of smoke was observed. Police attended but there was no sign of fire or smoke. It was speculated that someone might have been clearing away some brush.
Cozy little ditch
March 12 at 11 am police received a report of a man laying in a ditch by the highway who might be injured. Police located the 20 year old Thornhill man near the Hwy 1/97C intersection. He said he was hitchhiking his way to Vancouver. The man was not injured. He was cautioned about severe weather approaching and allowed to go on his way.
March 12 at 3:30 pm a male came to the Detachment to turn ove a detonator cap that he had found along the tracks by the Walhachin Quarry. Police took possession of it and sent it to Vancouver for disposal by explosion experts.
Hit and run
March 14 at 10 am police received a report of a hit and run in the Chevron parking lot after a Cache Creek man noticed damage on the front passenger side panel of his gray 2008 GMC Canyon pickup truck. Anyone witnessing the accident is asked to contact the RCMP at 453-2216.