False reporting wastes time, resources

Published 7:00 am Thursday, May 25, 2017

When we report a crime or emergency to the appropriate agency, we know that police, firefighters and EMTs can arrive in the nick of time to provide the necessary assistance.

But at times, these hard working men and women are sent to a call thinking an emergency is occurring, only to find they were sent on a wild goose chase.

Such was the case Wednesday when a man reported he left another individual in a truck that was stuck in a wooded area after allegedly participating in a southern pastime, mud riding.

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Fearing the worst, the men and women of the Picayune Police Department and other emergency personnel searched needlessly for this missing individual.

It was needless because upon further investigation, there was no missing woman. The man who made the report was apparently under the influence of some type of narcotic.

The truck was later found in a parking lot.

As we all know, it’s better to be safe than sorry. When a call comes in of a person possibly missing or lost, our local personnel don’t think twice, they gear up and head out prepared for anything that may occur.

So, to find out the report was all just a fantasy brought on by substance abuse must be discouraging.

The problem is, there’s no way to tell if what is reported is accurate or not and only a limited recourse if the report is untrue.

Currently in Mississippi a person can only be charged with the false report of a crime, not for a false report in general.

Maybe it’s time to consider amending the law against falsely reporting a crime to include the false report of any kind. Several states already have such a law in place.

While only a misdemeanor, it would serve as a deterrent to the incident seen on Wednesday.