When 911 Calls Go Too Far

BRYAN, Texas A 911 caller found himself behind bars after, police say, his calls went from a plea for help, to abusing the system.

Investigators said Jonathan Harrison, 55, made about six calls to the Brazos County 911 dispatch in early February, from a hotel room along Texas Avenue near Wayside Drive.

Investigators said in the first few calls, Harrison asked dispatchers for baby aspirin for an aching tooth, and a place to stay in Bryan for the night.

When police arrived, they said they found two baggies of marijuana and a pipe n Harrison's bed, which they confiscated.

Investigators said Harrison called 911 again, claiming the marijuana was for medical use, and he wanted it back.

"Well, one officer was real cool, the other kind of made a jerk out of himself," Harrison said to the dispatcher over the phone. "He did not seem to understand my medical condition. He's taken my medicine."

Harrison claimed he had a prescription for the marijuana from Colorado.

"We're going to get this resolved tonight, one way or the other," Harrison said.

Harrison was later arrested and charged with 911 abuse.

While few 911 calls end up with the caller in handcuffs, officials said not all police matters require a call to 911.

Dispatchers said it's a problem they face often. Lauren Blackburn with Brazos County Dispatch said it's difficult to juggle non-emergency calls with ones that need immediate attention.

Blackburn said they get calls every day that would be better suited for a non-emergency number.

"Any type of loud music complaint. We get lots of those on 911. Barking dog complaints," said Blackburn.

Blackburn said it can be a fine line, and if you're not sure if your situation qualifies as an emergency, give them a call.

"We definitely don't want to discourage people from calling 911 for anything they feel is a true emergency for them," said Blackburn. "But we definitely want to educate the public about the best use of the 911 system."

Blackburn said a little thought before you pick up the phone could go a long way to helping the ones who help you.

If you live in College Station, the non-emergency number for police is 979-764-3600. For all other Brazos County residents, call 979-361-3888.


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