New campaign aims to stop unnecessary 911 calls in Lakeland

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — Need directions? Or maybe your kid won’t wake up for school? These aren’t things you would dial 911 for, yet people in Lakeland have.

The city is starting a new public safety campaign to help stop the problem of 911 misuse.

“Just this morning someone called 911 for help finding their missing cell phone,” said Robin Tillett, a spokesperson with the Lakeland Police Department. “Anytime there’s Fourth of July fireworks, we get, ‘what time do the fireworks start? Is there parking available?’ I mean things that you wouldn’t think people would call 911 for.”

The Lakeland Fire Department and the Lakeland Police Department joined forces and created four PSA videos they hope will be shared through their social media pages.

Both LFD and LPD receive a high number of calls for service (22,515 and 108,657, in 2015). These calls are managed by the Lakeland Public Safety 911 Communications Center, which dispatched 131,172 calls for service last year.

According to dispatchers at the 911 Communications Center, the leading issues in 911 misuse were: accidental dialing from cell phones by both unknowing adults or children on cell phones; non-emergency medical calls; and parents calling 911 to threaten disobedient children.

“We really just want to remind people it’s for life or death situations. We want to make sure resources allocated for emergencies are there when they are needed,” Tillett said.

Instead of calling 911 for information or directions, people are asked to use the internet, or call 411. For anyone needing an officer or help, that is not an emergency, the Lakeland Police Department asks people to call their non-emergency number: (863) 834-6900. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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