Ontario residents call 911 to complain about amber alert… again

Toronto Police said they received a number of calls from citizens complaining that an amber alert woke them up early Tuesday morning.

Greater Sudbury Police initiated the amber alert at 5 a.m., which was sent out to cell phones across Ontario, after a three-year old boy was reported missing. Police believed his mother had abducted him after he was last seen by his legal guardian at noon Monday.

Complaints poured into emergency lines, prompting Toronto Police to take to Twitter Tuesday morning to remind callers that 911 is for emergencies only.

“Please help us to keep our phone lines free for real emergencies,” the tweet said.

In February, an amber alert — that was initiated late at night to help police find a missing 11-year-old girl — resulted in a similar wave of non-emergency calls to 911 complaining about the phone notifications. The girl, who was later found dead, had been abducted by her father.

Police said that the amber alert led to the father’s arrest. He later died from self-inflicted wounds.

In the Sudbury case, police found the boy and his mother in Toronto Tuesday morning and called off the alert.

Greater Sudbury Police said an amber alert might be issued if any of the following conditions apply to a situation:

  • The child is under 18 years old
  • There is a belief that the child has been abducted
  • There is information available that may help locate the child and/or abductor
  • That the alert be issued within a reasonable amount of time from the moment of the abduction