• Memphis man made nearly 400 false 911 calls in less than 2 months, police say

    Updated:

    Memphis police arrested a man after they said he made numerous fraudulent calls to 911. 

    Officers went to the suspect's home in the 3500 block of Clarke Road to speak with Charles Yates. An MPD Communications Supervisor said he had called 911 ten times on April 15. 

    When police got to his house, he refused to talk to the officers. Eventually, he came to the door, but he was in a very "agitated state."

    He cussed and yelled at the police. He then slammed the door and refused to talk about why he kept calling 911, according to police documents.

    The next day, the communications department sent an email to investigators showing he had called 399 times between March 7 and April 15. None of the calls were emergencies. 


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    Police records said, "the excessive amounts of false 911 calls made by Mr. Yates prevent true emergency calls from getting through and/or delayed dispatcher from responding to additional calls for emergency service." 

    Yates is charged with Aggravated Nonemergency Contact of 911. 

    Emergency communications administrator Mike Spencer said these types of calls are very uncommon.

    "We are equipped to handle it, we have enough call takers to work through it, but those situations are challenging because you are trying to determine if a person is having an emergency and you don’t want to miss or assume anything," said Spencer.

    Spencer said so far dispatchers have taken over 300,000 calls.

    He said dispatchers’ average time for taking emergency calls are within six seconds. Spencer said the national standard to answer 95 percent of the calls are within 20 seconds.

    "At one point in 2015 our average answer time was around 90 seconds and we reduced that to 6 seconds. We came full circle and changed the way we do things," said Spencer.

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