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911 Calls - Keep Them Private?

We all hear 911 clips on TV or radio, after incidents happen, and TMZ is well known for playing full 911 calls of people who have died, etc. I know that for myself, I do NOT want any call I make or calls made for me for help, to be publicly broadcast, no matter what the reason. If law enforcement needs it, fine, but the media does not. I've read where some lawmakers are trying to pass bills to make them private, but it's obviously not in effect. What can we do, and do you mind whether or not 911 calls are kept private?

Answer Question

Asked by NightPhoenix at 3:16 PM on Mar. 17, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 17 (4,668 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • people always want somehting about hemselves kept private, but its a public call , using government telephone lines is public even from a payphone is public.... i think if the message is grusome on detail it shouldnt be played. and i dont theink the media should take advantage of the calls being made public, but i odnt mind.. i just dont watch them.

    Answer by jlouise03 at 3:22 PM on Mar. 17, 2010

  • I think it's so ignorant to play 911 calls publicly. There is NO reason any ordinary person would need to hear it, except to gawk at it. I overheard Cory Haim's mother's 911 call this morning on the news and was disgusted. I don't care if it makes for good TV, how would you feel if the whole world heard you in distress over finding your dead son's body? And why does anyone need to hear that?

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:25 PM on Mar. 17, 2010

  • I get what you mean, but I've never been one to think we should hide from things we don't want to see/hear.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:29 PM on Mar. 17, 2010

  • I think that maintaining 911 calls publicly discourage the jokers.

    Answer by Energ8zr at 3:37 PM on Mar. 17, 2010

  • I dont think they should be played publicly. I think they need to be recorded and checked to be sure people are helped but listening to someone report something tragic is expoliting them. I sure wouldnt want the world to hear me scream as i discover something awful. It is just unneccessary!

    Answer by ria7 at 3:46 PM on Mar. 17, 2010

  • It depends on the state as to whether those are released or not - CA & FL both obviously do.

    The only time anyone IMO needs to review or re-listen to a 911 call would be only one of two instances:
    1.) Investigation into a crime; looking for possible clues/sounds picked up in the background
    2.) Accusation of misconduct on the part of the 911 operator; and the call is reviewed for 'performance' issues.

    Otherwise it's nothing more than glorified rubbernecking at the scene of an accident.

    Although in reading the replies - Energ8zr brings up an exception; those idiot 911 calls are kind of amusing...the lady that called like 5 times in 15 mins cause McD's ran out of chicken nuggets etc...putting aside she was wasting phone line space; she was looney tunes and very funny to listen to rant & rave!

    Answer by beachmamaof2 at 3:52 PM on Mar. 17, 2010

  • I don't care if they air them. Even if it were mine. They usually air them on tv so potential jurors hear it. It is a matter of public records and public record laws differ from state to state. Like in Florida their law is called the EMERGENCY TELEPHONE ACT says that all emergency calls are public record once name, address, and telephone number of caller is deleted. But this month there has been back and forth on taking 911 calls out of the legislation.

    Answer by Crissy1213 at 4:09 PM on Mar. 17, 2010

  • I wouldn't care if my 911 call was made public. But, seeing as I'm not someone who is rich and famous, and I'm not into making stupid calls--like calling 911 when my Dominoes pizza order hasn't arrived on time--I seriously doubt ANYONE would be interested in hearing my call for help!!!

    I guess because I've never done anything that I would be embarrassed if it were made public, I don't have anything to "fear!" :o)

    Answer by LoriKeet at 4:17 PM on Mar. 17, 2010

  • I think 911 calls should be kept private. To publicize them violates HIPAA. Think about it:
    You call 911 because your husband is having chest pain. EMS shows up & takes him to the E.R.. So are the medics or the E.R. staff allowed to tell anyone outside of immediate family members that your DH is having chest pain? NO! It is in violation of HIPAA, and they run the risk of being fired & having legal action brought against them & their employer. So why should it be any different just because it is over the phone?
    There is no reason for making 911 calls public, other than entertainment purposes. If someone needs the recording for legal purposes, they can get a subpoena, like you have to for medical records.
    It can also be very embarrassing for the patient & their family. If someone in your family attempted suicide, would you want that tape played on your local news?? Yea, didn't think so...

    Answer by emslala at 1:47 AM on Mar. 18, 2010

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