UPDATE: New technology makes tracking false calls to 911 difficu - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: New technology makes tracking false calls to 911 difficult

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RED BANK, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: New phone technology might be making it harder for police to do their jobs.

Red Bank Police experienced it last Friday when someone called in a false report, prompting a huge response on Dayton Boulevard near the Taco Bell.

But now police can't trace who called.

They say its because of the popularity of a new program that lets a third party make the phone call from anywhere in the world.

"In addition to the track phones and phones that you pay by the minute, there's a new program out there where you dial a number and it goes to a third party operator and so you give them a credit card and pay for so many minutes at a time," Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol explained. "The problem is we now have a track phone that's difficult for us to locate that's being diverted to a third party vendor over a VOIP, or voice over Internet protocol line. So that third party vendor might be anywhere in the world and its difficult for us as an emergency responder to locate someone. If someone called for help, we might have difficulty locating where that person is, as well as in this case, trying to follow up to determine the value or cirumstance of that call."

Christol said the investigation is ongoing but no arrests have been made. It is a felony to falsely report a felony to police, as in this case.


PREVIOUS STORY: Emergency sirens interrupted the hustle and bustle Friday afternoon as Red Bank police officers rushed toward the 200 block of Dayton Boulevard. 

Within seconds, officers surrounded White Oak Barber Shop with weapons drawn. 

The manager tells Channel 3 he was one of 13 people inside. 

“I opened the door and walked out and the police screamed and told me to come to them because there was supposedly a shooting in the barber shop, which I was in and there was not,” White Oak Barber Shop Manager “Jonny” said. 

Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol says police were responding to a call of a man who told dispatchers he had shot and killed his girlfriend and barricaded himself inside the Casual Cuts Salon next door to White Oak Barber Shop. 

Christol says Casual Cuts Salon is no longer in business. 

Web cameras inside the barber shop show police officers clearing each room after evacuating everyone inside. 

“Police had us line up and wait until it was all resolved,” Jonny added. 

Christol says their search turned up nothing and may be connected to a national trend called “SWAT-ing.” 

“Calling in false calls: A barricade situation, a shooting, just to look at the tactical response, to see a tactical response from the police,” he said, “We’re drawing resources from where they need to be and we’re causing disruption for everybody’s life.” 

Christol says another case of “SWAT-ing” happened in Hamilton County earlier this year and should serve as a reminder that false calls are a criminal offense. 

“Reporting a felony, which in this case a felony would have occurred, is a more serious felony offense,” he said. 

Police are still investigating this case.


PREVIOUS STORY: Red Bank police have surrounded Casual Cuts barber shop on Dayton Boulevard in Red Bank. The call came in as shots fired, sending law enforcement in response.

The nearby White Oak Barber shop was evacuated as a precaution.

They have weapons drawn as they appears to be searching for a person(s) nearby. The Tennessee Highway Patrol has also arrived to aid in the efforts.

Police haven't yet found a source of the alleged gunshots, but are carefully checking around the area.

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