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Crying wolf dangerous
Police slam advocates of making false report of guns to speed up response
SHOOTING4 7-08-09
Manteca Police handle calls in order of risk to public safety. - photo by Bulletin file photo

It wasn’t the criticism of their response that prompted the Manteca Police Department to issue a statement Monday denouncing some of the recent Facebook comments and suggestion that have popped up recently.
But it was the fact that the discussion was encouraging people to make false reports to dispatchers in order to speed response times – and inadvertently risking the lives of officers and residents in the process.
Using the City of Manteca’s official Local Government Facebook page on Monday, the Manteca Police issued a statement asking the public specifically not to do what some have suggested in local Manteca group chats – to “state or insinuate a firearm is involved when it is known not to be true” – because the response and the tactics employed by responding officers often create their own safety hazards that should be minimized as much as possible.
“Responding to a lot of these calls when there is a firearm involved means a Code 3 response – officers will have lights and sirens –  and while our officers are safe and we have a track record, that creates the possibility of an accident because anything can happen,” Manteca Police Department Sergeant Mike Aguilar said. “And then there’s the issue of the tactics we use when we arrive on scene and find the person – we’re going to detain that suspect, and we don’t want to detain anybody if we don’t absolutely have to.
“We understand the frustrations of people when they call something in and it takes an hour for an officer to get there, but people don’t understand that we’re already on a call that requires our presence there, and when somebody reports something like that and it isn’t known to be true it pulls officers away from situations where they are actually needed.”
According to Aguilar, last year the Manteca Police averaged more than 100 calls per given 24-hour period – meaning that there was absolutely no down time for officers between calls. He added that calls coming into the dispatch center, even for non-emergency scenarios, are prioritized – calls that aren’t life-threatening may be placed on hold while other priority calls and situations are assessed and handled – and the priority of those calls are then relayed to officers in order of importance.
The thing not to do, he said, is to infer that somebody has a gun when the caller either does not know that they do, or know for a fact that they don’t and simply want to move up to the top of the queue – something that could potentially be a crime itself if all of the parameters are met.
Any concerns about calls or how they’re being handled, Aguilar said, can be transferred to the on-duty watch commander – a post that is staffed 24-hours-a-day – for further clarification or investigation.