Calling 911? That’s a public record

I called 911 a few months ago after I saw a strange van pull into my neighbors’ driveways early in the morning, turn off his lights and then speed away as soon as I drove by. This happened several mornings in a row, and I decided that it was time to call the authorities, just in case.

Being the public records geek that I am, I instantly realized that my 911 call was a public record. God forbid had that van driver done something bad to me, my call probably would have been all over the news that night and I knew it. In the end, my fears were put to rest after a sheriff’s deputy pulled over the van and discovered that it was a newspaper delivery man. Whoops.

Tonight, I was reading up about 911 calls and what the North Carolina public records law says about them. (See, I told you I was a geek.) I learned that law enforcement agencies “shall not be required to maintain any tape recordings of 911 or other communications for more than 30 days from the time of the call, unless a court of competent jurisdiction orders a portion sealed.”

Very interesting. Well, I guess my 911 call is long gone by now.

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