The City of Sedalia has enacted a crucial ordinance to prohibit the harassment of public safety agencies through repetitive non-emergency telephone calls. The measure comes in response to an alarming trend that has seen vital emergency resources diverted by non-urgent calls.
The ordinance, known as “Telephone Harassment of a Public Safety Agency,” includes specific definitions for what constitutes harassment and non-emergency calls. It sets a threshold for what is considered “repeatedly” and lays out penalties for those in violation. A first offense will result in a fine, while a second offense within a year of the first may lead to jail time.
Mayor Andrew L. Dawson underscores the necessity of this ordinance, stating, “This is not about restricting the public’s right to access emergency services but rather ensuring that these lines remain open for genuine emergencies. By targeting the abuse of the system, we are preserving the integrity of our emergency services and ensuring they’re available for those in real need.”
The legislation is grounded in real-world situations where non-emergency calls have occurred while dispatchers were addressing true emergencies. It’s a response to a tangible problem that needs immediate attention.
The ordinance also provides for proper evidence handling and allows public safety agencies to issue warning letters when appropriate.
“The passage of this ordinance reflects our commitment to maintaining a safe and responsible community,” Mayor Dawson adds. “It’s about working together to protect our emergency services and encouraging everyone to understand the importance of this law.”
The “Telephone Harassment of a Public Safety Agency” ordinance is now in full effect. The full text of the ordinance is available from the City Clerk’s Office.