MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We’ve all done it before: That embarrassing pocket dial, where the person on the other end picks up and can hear everything we’re saying without us knowing.
But sometimes instead of unknowingly calling a parent or a friend, the emergency dial feature you see on cell phones accidentally gets hit.
Brittney Quant’s husband accidentally pocket dialed 911, which led to a front-door visit from police.
“The cops showed up to our house and he happened to look down at his phone, he was connected to 911,” Quant said. “So we had to answer some questions and explain to them that there wasn’t an emergency.”
It’s a scenario that Minneapolis Police say plays out about 12 times a day. St. Paul Police say it’s about the same for them.
“As we’re having more and more cell phones, we’re finding that this, of course, is going up,” said Minneapolis Police Spokesman John Elder.
He says when 911 dispatchers get pocket dialed, they’ll make noise to try and get the caller to hear them.
If no one responds, they’ll try and listen in to see if there is an emergency. They’ll also try another approach.
“They will then disconnect and call the individual back and say, ‘Hey, this is, you know, 911. We received a call from your phone. Is there an emergency? Are you okay?'” Elder said. “They’ll try and make contact.”
If there’s no answer, police will ping the phone to find out where it is. It can then take an officer up to an hour to track down the pocket dialer.
“It is frustrating to see the waste of time,” Elder said.
But he says police have to respond just in case.
“We would rather take the time and investigate it and have it be nothing, than to not investigate it and have it be something that we could have helped with,” he said.
As cell phones are constantly upgraded, Elder wants people to be mindful of the emergency dial feature on their phone.
He says lock it when you can, but regardless, police investigate every 911 call that comes in – even pocket dials.