VALLEJO (CBS13) — City officials are planning to combat costly 911 prank calls and hang-ups by enforcing expensive fines against troublemakers.

Vallejo emergency dispatchers receive about 100 hang-up calls each day, tying up scarce resources in the cash-strapped town and requiring a response from two police officers to each incident.

“It really gets into time consuming things when we have to call back, we have to do emergency break-through on the line,” said Vallejo Police Sgt. Jeff Bassett. “You’re talking about a minimum of a half hour, probably.”

Starting October 1, a new ordinance will allow the City of Vallejo to charge $200 if people hang up and can’t be reached by dispatchers.

Vallejo has had to cut their sworn officers by a third since 2006, and the city is only now emerging from bankruptcy. With fewer officers on the street, officials say they are looking for ways to use their resources more efficiently.

The fine shouldn’t discourage anyone from calling during a real emergency and will only be applied against serious offenders, Bassett said.

“We are talking about people who misdial and walk away from their phone,” Bassett said. “Crank calls, we get them all the time.”

For the first 30 days, the city will send out warning letters. After that, people will receive the fine in the mail.

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