SPECIAL REPORT: Wasted 911 calls

Veteran Cedar Rapids Police Officer Ben Wery begins his night shift patrol. He knows it will be filled with bogus and hangup 911 calls

We uncover even more 911 calls that aren't emergencies. They cost taxpayers money...or worse, they could mean life and death choices. See how Corridor first responders are dealing with 70,000 calls a year. Nearly 60% of them are not emergencies.

Recently those included a youngster who called to ask if an officer could help him unlock his cell phone, a man wanting help buying a bus ticket, a little boy who called dozens of times in one night and a woman who actually called the non-emergency line but still required an officer to respond when she received the wrong order at a drive-thru fast food restaurant and complained the employees wouldn't help her.

Cedar Rapids Emergency Communications Dispatchers say they take every single call seriously, but there are only so many staff members and so many officers, firefighters and first responders on duty. If the lines are tied up with a bogus call, it means there's a chance someone with a real emergency is having to wait precious moments to get help.

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