In the wake of anti-police violence in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police in Minneapolis, Minnesota have implemented a new policy to help prevent officers from responding to fake, potentially fatal calls.
On July 17, dispatchers began requiring 911 callers to verify their names before sending officers to respond, and considering the recent controversial shooting of Philando Castile in Minneapolis, police may be right to worry.
Minneapolis and St. Paul police have had to deal with near-constant Black Lives Matter protests since Castile’s shooting on July 6, ranging from traditional demonstrations to blocked freeways.
According to WCCO, If a caller won’t volunteer his or her name, or “relevant identity information,” dispatchers are to attempt to learn more about the alleged crime on their own before sending police into the area. The Minneapolis Police Department released a statement explicitly stating that the policy is meant to protect officers from “fictitious calls that may be used to entice officers to an area where their safety, and the safety of others, could be jeopardized.”
Some residents have come out against the policy, however, arguing that requiring a caller to reveal their name may put them in danger.
“They’re scared, they’re afraid, they’re upset, they’re nervous of retaliation,” VJ Smith, president of the Minneapolis Mad Dads group said.
The new policy was featured on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” program, where it aired a short exchange between a Minneapolis police dispatcher and a civilian.
“It’s very important for officer safety that we get names, because we have been targeted,” the dispatcher said.” And that’s the reason why we are asking for names. OK, thanks a lot, I’m done with the conversation.”