DOVER, Del - When you have an emergency at times you may call 911, but one Delaware man took things a little too far.
Delaware State Police say 61-year old Alan Zihal of Dover dialed 911 because he was drunk and lonely.
According to police, Zihal called 911 three times from the Super 8 Motel in Harrington back in April.
WBOC obtained a recording of one of those 911 calls. When the operator asked Zihal what was his emergency, his response was inaudible during the call that lasted less than a minute.
Lt. Earl Brode of the Harrington Police Department tells WBOC that Zihal also asked the operator for cigarettes, alcohol and sexual favors.
Dispatchers in the Kent County 911 center say non-emergency calls are a growing problem. It's a problem that State Police Cpl. Gary Fournier said ties up an operator from taking a life-threatening call.
"In that time spent where a person's life may be in danger or we need to get an ambulance or fire or police officer out to a location quickly, an operator may be tied up answering a call on some other non-life-threatening or non-emergency call," Fournier said.
Fournier said that while 911 is for emergencies only, there are non-emergency numbers that can be utilized.
"We want to make sure that if people don't understand what the non-emergency numbers are you can call 911, but they're going to ask right away is it an emergency. Just make sure you say, 'No it's not an emergency,'" Fournier said.
Fournier also says a person convicted of abusing 911 can be fined up to $1,150 and spend up to six months in jail.
The non-emergency number for Kent County is: (302) 739-4863. In Sussex County, the non-emergency number is (302) 855-2980. In New Castle County, the non-emergency number is (302) 573-2800.
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