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File #: 11983-21    Version: 1 Name:
Type: Ordinance Status: Expired by Rule
File created: 8/27/2021 In control: Committee on Public Safety
On agenda: 8/31/2021 Final action: 12/31/2021
Title: An Ordinance of the County of Allegheny, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, amending and supplementing the Allegheny County Code of Ordinances through the creation of a new Chapter 290, entitled “9-1-1 Call Center,” and a new §290.01, entitled “Duty to Report,” in order to establish a uniform policy for addressing non-emergency calls.
Sponsors: Olivia Bennett, Bethany Hallam
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An Ordinance of the County of Allegheny, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, amending and supplementing the Allegheny County Code of Ordinances through the creation of a new Chapter 290, entitled “9-1-1 Call Center,” and a new §290.01, entitled “Duty to Report,” in order to establish a uniform policy for addressing non-emergency calls.

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WHEREAS, Commonwealth law, specifically 35 Pa.C.S.A. §3510(a), expressly provides that “[a] person who intentionally calls the 911 emergency number for other than emergency purposes commits a misdemeanor of the third degree”; and

WHEREAS, according to published reports, the number of instances in which individuals are placing 9-1-1 calls for non-emergency purposes and based purely upon an individual’s race, national origin, or other characteristics appears to be increasing (see, e.g., Nichols, Race Has Everything to Do with It: A Remedy for Frivolous Race-Based Police Calls, 47 Fordham Urban Law Journal 153, 2019); and

WHEREAS, in the vast majority of cases involving these frivolous 9-1-1 calls, however, the individual who is the subject of the call will never know who placed the call, which makes seeking the appropriate remedy under the terms of §3510(a) all but impossible for the person most immediately impacted by it; and

WHEREAS, it is the judgment of Council that no individual can create an emergency or present a clear and immediate danger to public health, safety, or well-being solely by virtue of their race, ethnicity, national origin, or other culturally distinctive traits; and

WHEREAS, it is the desire of Council to establish a means of facilitating identification of individuals who place frivolous 9-1-1 calls based solely on these features or traits in the absence of a bona fide emergency;

The Council of the County of Allegheny hereby enacts as follows:


SECTION 1. Incorporation of the Preamble.

The provisions set forth in the preamble to this Ordinance are incorporated by reference as set forth in th...

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