Inspired by NorCal Woman, Wisconsin Lawmaker Introduces ‘BBQ Becky’ Bill That Targets ‘Frivolous’ 911 Calls
A bill introduced on Friday by a Milwaukee lawmaker would make it a crime to call 911 unless there’s suspected criminal activity.
As WDJT-TV in Wisconsin reported, on Saturday Waukesha police were called to a KFC after a woman said her sandwich was made wrong. The woman who called told police KFC made her sandwich wrong and the drive thru employee gave her attitude, so she wanted her money back.
It’s that type of call Rep. LaKeshia Myers (D-Milwaukee) is hoping to get rid of.
Here’s a transcript of a part of the 911 call made on Saturday:
CALLER: “She’s refusing to give me my money back because I won’t take the sandwich”
POLICE: “Okay well that’s a civil matter”
Representative Myers says calls like those waste police resources, and it’s something she knows is limited in the Milwaukee area.
”When you have frivolous calls like this, this takes up time and it dispatches officers who could otherwise be diverted to real crimes,” said Rep. Myers.
Rep. Myers says the issue isn’t specific to Wisconsin. In June of 2018 a San Francisco woman called police because an 8-year-old girl was selling bottled water without a permit.
Here’s how that call sounded:
CALLER: “Hi I’m having someone that does not have a vendor permit that’s selling water across from the ballpark”
CALLER: “Do you have someone I could talk to about that?”
DISPATCH: “Okay one second let me transfer you to the police department”
The bill would make frivolous calls a Class C Misdemeanor in Wisconsin. Rep. Myers believes the punishment would reduce the amount of nuisance 911 calls.
“We want people to actually go through the process of making sure that this is a legitimate emergency that I need to be calling the police for,” adds Rep. Myers.
Myers is nicknaming the bill the ‘BBQ Becky Bill,’ inspired by a woman who called Oakland police last year to report that a family was using a charcoal grill instead of a gas grill at a park.
During the call, the caller demands police come and deal with the situation immediately:
CALLER: “I’d like it to be dealt with immediately so that coals don’t burn more children and the city has to pay more taxes”
DISPATCH: “Okay and where is this again?”
”This was a family having an afternoon barbecue minding their own business and this person comes up to them and engages with them when they could’ve kept walking,” said Rep. Myers.
Rep. Myers hopes to get bipartisan support on the bill, and believes she will.
”We all want our public safety officers to do what they’re called to do and that’s to look at domestic disturbances, making sure that you know theft is not going on, and making sure that the public is protected,” Rep. Myers said.
Since this bill was just introduced, for now Rep. Myers is focusing on get as many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to support the bill.