Pranks could hinder police investigations

Published 7:00 am Friday, February 23, 2018

As a child, making prank calls seemed like a fun thing to do on the weekend.

My friends and I would gather around a hand-me-down flip cellphone, type in the combination to hide our number, and make good-natured prank calls to friends and family. Sometimes our victims would laugh along, other times they would become irritated.

But in the end no real damage was done.

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That was true, at least, until one of my friends suggested making a prank call to 911.

Immediately, I became alarmed at the suggestion.

Even as a child, I understood that calling 911 outside of a true emergency was a mistake.

A few friends laughed and wanted to go forward with the prank, reaching for the phone to make the call.

Thankfully, several others sided with me to stop them.

And, recently the Pearl River County School District conducted an investigation into a possible threat.

However, this case turned out to be a student singing lyrics from a song and as the rumor spread, facts were twisted. But until that conclusion was made, authorities were forced to spend precious time and resources to investigate.

While it was eventually determined that no actual threat was present, the incident demonstrates the gravity of simple miscommunication.

Even though the student was doing nothing more than singing an off-color song, the fear that ran through parents in the community led many to keep their children home from school.

Imagine what would happen if students began prank calling local schools or law enforcement agencies en masse.

Pearl River County law enforcement is thinly stretched as it is, if they are forced to investigate every prank or misunderstanding, a real threat might slip through. Never make a prank call to a law enforcement agency – no matter how innocent it may seem.