Toronto police are asking residents for compassion and understanding, rather than annoyance and ire, after getting complaints from perturbed residents who didn’t care for being interrupted by the loud sound of an Amber Alert, CTV News reports.
At about 5:00 p.m. local time on Tuesday, the Niagara Regional Police Service issued an Amber Alert after five children went missing. The kids — Evalyn, 5, Mattias, 10, Sovereign MacDermid, 11, Eska, 13, and Magnus, 14 — are believed to be with their father, Ian MacDermid.
As is often the case when children go missing, the decision was made by local authorities to issue an Amber Alert. The Amber Alert system is named for Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old girl abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas, in 1996.
Almost all cell phone manufacturers and carriers have a cooperative arrangement with local governments that allows Amber Alerts to be sent to cell phones. You may have received one: the noise can wake the dead, and if you’re not expecting it, it can be quite startling. Of course, that’s kind of the point: authorities want cell phone users to take notice.
The Alert went out far and wide, not just to people in the area where the kids were last seen, but to a wider geographical area. That’s because, as a police spokesperson explained, abducted children are often taken far away from where they were kidnapped.
As it turns out, however, not everyone was receptive to getting an Amber Alert for missing kids on Tuesday afternoon. Emergency dispatchers reported getting calls about the alert, not with tips for locating the missing kids, but with complaints about being annoyed by it.
AMBER ALERT out of Niagara Regional Police .... Ian MacDermid, 49, white male last seen in Gold pickup truck in Jordan, Ont., possibly heading to Ontario. Five children with him. Details: pic.twitter.com/8L9LnT35vv— ???????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????????? (@BryanPassifiume) October 1, 2019
Toronto police spokesperson Officer Alex Li is not having it.
“Please do not call police to complain, instead find compassion and have the understanding to help locate these children! Amber Alerts are issued for a reason,” he wrote.
Similarly, Niagara police media relations office Const. Phil Gavin said that Amber Alerts are issued for a reason.
“Requesting an Amber Alert is not something we take lightly,” he said.
In fact, it seems that complaining about being annoyed by Amber Alerts is a thing in Canada. So far this year, five Amber Alerts have been issued in Ontario, and in all five instances, people have called to complain about them.
In one particularly tragic case, as reported by The Inquisitr, regional police around the Canadian city of Peel issued an Amber Alert for a missing 11-year-old girl named Riya Rajkumar. Residents complained of being startled awake by the alert, which was issued at 11:36 p.m. Meanwhile, Riya was found dead a while after the alert.