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Toledo police dept urges callers to stop ‘tying up’ 911 lines to snitch on social distancing violators

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State and local government officials calling on residents to report violators of coronavirus safety orders have already come under fire for encouraging tattling.

Now police in Ohio are reporting that they are experiencing an added problem, as people have been “tying up” emergency lines in order to call authorities about neighbors, businesses and others who are suspected of violating the state’s social-distancing orders.

The Toledo Police Department’s official Twitter account posted a message Tuesday urging residents to call the Lucas County Health Department, and not the police, to report violators.

“Citizens: We are posting this because people are tying up the 911 lines to report others who are not socially distancing,” a tweet by the Department read. “Our goal is to provide the appropriate number for people to call instead of them calling 911.”

While the Department reportedly had officers responding to fewer burglaries, robberies and vehicle thefts in the month of March as the pandemic began to spread, it now appears police are having to field calls of less dramatic emergencies due to panicked residents feeling the need to report anyone who they feel could pose a health risk.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Tuesday that the state will be cutting short its stay-at-home orders but the social-distancing rules still apply as restrictions on bars and restaurants, as well as a continued ban on large gatherings, will stay in place as mandatory.

Just one day before, the Republican governor stressed that the state would use law-enforcement and “all the resources at our disposal” to enforce social distancing at bars and restaurants following reports of crowded locations over the weekend.

The Toledo Police Department’s message to citizens on Monday drew immediate backlash from Twitter users who slammed the people tying up resources to make frivolous “emergency” calls about social distancing.

Frieda Powers


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