Proposed bill introduces penalties for false 911 calls


Tricia Knoles is the KSU Police Department community resource officer. 

Ian Jameson Reporter

Newly proposed legislation would allow victims of false or racially motivated 911 calls to sue for damages. Two Ohio lawmakers have proposed a bill addressing what they say is an increase in false 911 calls.

According to lawmakers, victims of false or racially motivated 911 calls would be allowed to sue for monetary damages in civil court.  

The bill says if the victim were to win the case, the caller would have to pay a fine to the victim and go through court-ordered implicit bias training. When finished, the caller would submit proof of completion to the court.  

“Darren’s Law” is named after Darren Cooper, a Hudson resident who had a false 911 call made against him last August.  

A woman in a parking lot across the street from where Cooper was parked claimed she saw him sitting in his car flashing a gun. According to officers, Cooper was only holding his cell phone and talking on speakerphone.  

“My Hudson neighbor, Mr. Cooper, should have the freedom to do his job and live his life without fear of being harassed or racially profiled,” said Rep. Casey Weinstein in a virtual press conference. “It is critical that we bring awareness to this issue that affects Black Ohioans throughout this state, and that we leverage the power of education to put an end to dangerous, non-emergency uses of 911 calls.” 

Police services on Kent State’s campus would be able to enforce this proposed legislation just the same as any other law, officer Tricia Knoles said. However, both false and racially motivated 911 calls are rare. 

“I can’t recall our dispatch center receiving any false or racially motivated calls in my 15 and a half years of working here,” Knoles said. “Generally speaking, if someone were to choose to make a false call into the 911 center they may think twice about it if this should become a law.”

Ian Jameson covers the Statehouse. Contact him at [email protected]