By Shirin Rajaee

ELK GROVE (CBS13) – Emergency dispatchers in Elk Grove and Sacramento County are seeing an influx of false alarm 911 calls flooding their emergency communication centers.

More Sacramento News From CBS13

The source of the accidental calls is the Apple distribution site in Elk Grove.

“We’ve been seeing these calls for the last four months from Apple,” said police dispatcher Jamie Hudson.

Dispatchers say the calls started back in October of 2017, and typically there’s no one on the other line.

“We’re able to see quickly where the call is coming from, so when we get one from Apple, the address will come up with their location,” said Hudson.

On average, Elk Grove Police say they’ve received 20 accidental 911 calls a day from Apple, roughly 1,600 calls since October. Hudson says the calls take valuable seconds away from calls that could be real life-and-death emergencies.

“The times when it’s greatly impacting us is when we have other emergencies happening and we may have a dispatcher on another 911 call that may have to put that call on hold to triage the incoming call,” he said.

The calls are all coming from an Apple repair and refurbishing center off Laguna Boulevard.

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The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Communication Center is also getting these calls — 47 since January 1. Dispatchers there say they sometimes hear technicians working in the background.

“To them, it sounds like people talking about Apple, or devices or generally about maintenance and repairs,” said Sgt. Shaun Hampton with the Sheriff’s department.

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Apple hasn’t confirmed which of their devices is actually causing these calls: the iPhone or Apple watch, but both devices can be triggered easily. With just a touch of a button, SOS comes on and 911 is called.

“It could potentially have an impact on the services we provide,” said Sgt. Hampton.

In a statement to CBS13, an Apple spokesperson says:

“We’re aware of 911 calls originating from our Elk Grove repair and refurbishment facility. We take this seriously and we are working closely with local law enforcement to investigate the cause and ensure this doesn’t continue.”

While the leader in tech is working to resolve the issue, police are doing what they can to make sure it has little impact on their work.

“911 is a lifeline for everyone in our community, so having these lines open and available is paramount and so getting this problem resolved…” said Jason Jimenez with the Elk Grove Police Department. “At this point, public safety is not in danger and we are working with Apple to resolve the issue.”

Comments (8)
  1. This is not just related to the Apple repair facility. It is happening all over the US. There is a bug in iPhones that is causing users to accidentally call 911 when they accidentally push a certain combination or sequence of buttons or screen taps, usually while the iPhone is in their pocket or purse. This has happened to me with my iPhone 8 four times while it was in my pocket in the last 30 days.

    1. My apple watch once accidentally called 911. I was getting ready to go out and hitting my watch, I found myself on a screen I didn’t want to be on, so I pressed SOMETHING to get it back, next thing I know it’s asking if I want to dial 911. I panicked and hit the wrong thing and 911 was called. I had to explain to the dispatcher it was an accidental dial, no emergency. I hung up, and now it’s asking if it should call my emergency contacts!! I got it right that time and saved my contacts getting a call at 7:30am Sunday morning.

  2. i had the issue with my company phone system. with mobile twinning, a feature that routs incoming calls to my cell phone. with the new iphone x this started sending silent alerts to 911. i wouldn’t even show a call history but 911 would call me back and say that i called them. Eventually i realized it was the twinning feature on our avaya phones and just disabled that feature. I haven’t had any issues since, but i also can’t use call forwarding…

  3. Same thing happened at my company when we switched telephony providers. The new number to dial an outside line was “9”. Take that followed by dialing a “1” to get an outside area code and you can see how that becomes a problem. It was so bad that local PD eventually threatened to fine the company $1000 per accidental call.

  4. Asian countries for Asians.

    Black countries for Blacks.

    but White countries for everybody?

    That’s genocide.

    Anti-racist is a codeword for Anti-White

  5. It’s not just “a touch of a button” – the Emergency SOS feature that is likely triggering this requires that 3 buttons on the iPhone 8, 8 Plus or X be pressed and held down simultaneously. I’ve got details on how this might be occurring at this facility, and how the feature can be disabled: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/techburger/article/Apple-repair-center-floods-dispatcher-with-911-12698369.php

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