An online petition has been launched asking that fines be implemented for people who call 911 to complain about Amber Alerts.
Dalia Monacelli is planning on sending the petition to Premier Doug Ford’s office and the Ontario attorney general, according to Change.org.
“People have to understand that when they dial 911, they are taking time and personnel away from actual emergencies and that these actions could COST LIVES!” Monacelli wrote on the petition.
“Please, take a moment to sign this petition and make sure these non-emergency callers get fined for their crime!”
Since the Alert Ready system took effect on Ontario cellphones, a notification is sent to local phones whenever an Amber Alert is issued. If a phone has its sound on for notifications, a tone will sound.
Following recent Amber Alerts in Ontario, police have repeatedly said they received numerous calls from people complaining about the notification.
“I can’t even begin to describe how disappointing and upsetting it is to read the comments, emails and calls to our communications bureau complaining about receiving an Amber Alert late at night,” Peel police media relations officer Const. Akhil Mooken said in February after an Amber Alert was issued for 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar.
LISTEN BELOW: Dalia Monacelli joins the 630 CHED Afternoon News to discuss her petition
In that case, Rajkumar was later found dead. Even then, police said people still complained.
Monacelli said the incident was key in launching the petition.
“The Amber Alert woke me up that night, but all I remember was being worried about the girl and praying she would be found safe,” she said. “While this was happening, some people (a lot of people) decided to start calling the emergency lines to COMPLAIN about the Amber Alert … These people went on living their lives which were disrupted for all of two minutes, while the little girl was no more.”
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Monacelli also said her son was an inspiration for the petition.
“I imagined what it would be like if my two-year-old son went missing and we lost an opportunity to get him back because someone was complaining about the alert,” she said in a statement. “I knew I needed to try to put an end to this selfish and dangerous behaviour.”
As of early Monday afternoon, the petition had well over 57,000 signatures.
Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said in a statement that the government is “considering all options to ensure people are not wasting” emergency resources.
“Complaining about receiving an Amber Alert is more than just insensitive — it’s dangerous. People who use 911 as a complaints hotline are taking up critical emergency resources,” she wrote.
“When a child is missing, we all have a role to play as members of our community. Many children have been located as a direct result of Amber alerts, but it only works if everyone receives these alerts.”
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