ST. PAUL, Minn – State Senator Susan Kent (DFL – Woodbury) chief authored Senate File 1168, which passed off the Senate Floor today. SF 1168 relates to emergency 911 calls and is Senator Kent’s first bill to pass through the entire Senate: “It’s a great feeling to see a bill I have guided since the beginning make it through the committee process and be passed by the Senate,” said Senator Kent.
The bill creates criminal charges against those who call 911 under false pretenses, along with establishing appropriate penalties to go along with these charges. It was unanimously passed with bipartisan support.
“This is partly in response to a situation we had in Oakdale recently. Senate File 1168 creates the option for a prosecutor to charge an individual with a felony if the individual intentionally reports a fictitious emergency with the intent of getting an emergency response, and if an emergency responder or someone else is seriously injured or killed as a result of the emergency,” the Senator said.
Furthermore, the bill also makes it a felony to use multiple communications devices to interfere with, overload, or otherwise prevent the emergency call center’s system from functioning properly, thereby preventing callers from getting through when trying to seek emergency help for themselves or others in need.
“Every time an officer responds to an emergency call it carries risk. Sadly, it is becoming increasingly common to attempt to get a SWAT team to break into a house,” said Kent. “We want to make sure our emergency responders spend time and energy on real crises, not waste it chasing down false claims.”
Emergency response organizations including the Metropolitan Emergency Services Board, the Minnesota’s Sheriff’s Association, the Minnesota Chiefs of Police and the Minnesota Ambulance Association support this bill.
For more information about the bill, or to contact Senator Kent with questions or comments, please email email@example.com or call 651-296-4166.