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Ask Joe: Did viewer's report of possible drunk driver get ignored?

Have you ever called 9-1-1 to report a drunk or reckless driver? One of our viewers did recently and he says was surprised by the response he received.

Alex Figueroa wrote in on my Joe Hart KRNV Facebook page to say he called 9-1-1 to report a possible drunk driver last month. He says when he called in the information, he was told it was not that important.

He wants to know how seriously these calls are taken.

Here's what I found out:

Alex says this incident happened on I-580 as he was driving past the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.

Was his call taken seriously?

I checked with the Nevada Highway Patrol about this. Trooper Dan Gordon looked into it. He spoke with the dispatcher and reviewed the call itself.

Dispatchers say that when Alex called in, the driver he was concerned about was doing 90 miles an hour, and they did not want Alex to be driving that fast to in order to keep up with the other driver.

They told Alex it was not important enough to put himself in danger.

Gordon says dispatchers did take the information Alex provided, and they broadcast the description of the car on law enforcement channels in an effort to track down the driver.

Trooper Gordon says they rely on people calling in reports like this to help be their eyes and ears out on the roads since they can't be everywhere at all times. So they do take the calls seriously, but they can't let you put yourself or others in danger in doing so. That was the catch in Alex's case.

After I followed up with Alex, he told me the explanation makes sense and he understands now why dispatchers responded the way they did.

So I'm glad we were able to straighten this out for him.


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