FLINT TWP. — A recent emergency hoax in light of recent national law enforcement tragedies has led to some local level “operating changes to address (police) officers’ concerns’’ said Chief George Sippert in a report Monday night to the township board. Officers responded at about 12:35 P.M. on Wednesday July 13 to a 911 call for help for a woman said to be seriously injured in a car crash on Flushing Road, Sippert said. The caller said the injured woman was bleeding from her side and unconscious and also provided a specific description of the cars involved.
Several police cars were dispatched along with ambulance crews only to arrive at the scene and find nothing, Chief Sippert said. That is very unusual, he said. Sometimes a caller might give the wrong intersection but usually a reported incident is in the vicinity of the location given.
A dispatcher tried to call the caller back and got a voicemail. But by using cellphone technology police were able to identify the caller within 24 hours and police detectives interviewed him at the county jail. He confessed to placing the bogus emergency call to divert police from his own predicament. He was a passenger in a car that been pulled over by police from another jurisdiction, Chief Sippert said. Knowing that he had outstanding arrest warrants and was about to be arrested, he created the false emergency hoping that the officer who had pulled him over would immediately leave to rush to the accident scene. His strategy didn’t work. He still is in jail, unable to post bond, and also has been charged with an additional misdemeanor. The minimal penalty in Michigan for making false 911 call is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine or both but there are stiffer penalties, larger fines and longer jail terms for calls involving a felonies and/or that lead to injuries to others including first responders. Chief Sippert said they are thankful the incident ended without anyone getting hurt. “But this is an example of how everyone is a bit more concerned and want to operate safely,” he said.
He declined to elaborate on what operational changes have been made.
He also reported that the department has received an outpouring of support from the community in the wake of the national and state shootings that killed police officers. Flint Township officers have received thank you notes, gifts and snacks from the public, Chief Sipper said. Law enforcement officers are understandably a little on edge and appreciate the support the community is providing, he said.
In a separate report, Chief Sippert said that the department received 26 applications for entry level police officers during a recruitment period that ended June 15. Those applicants were invited to take a written exam this week. Those who pass by a score of 70 or more will be called in for an interview. Chief Sippert said.
The department has seven openings.