Skip to main content
Publish date:

Butt-dialing anglers to blame for increase in 911 calls in northern MN

The sheriff's office says anglers are accidentally hitting the emergency sos buttons on their phones, which calls 911.

A sheriff in northern Minnesota is reminding anglers to be careful where they put their phone when they crouch over an ice hole. 

The warning isn't to help prevent the phone from falling in the lake – it's so they stop unintentionally calling 911. 

The Beltrami County Sheriff's Office posted on Facebook Dec. 5 asking people to be aware of the emergency activation on their cell phones after the 911 call center has been taking "a large number of pocket and 'butt dial' 911 calls."

"Crouching over an ice hole with your phone in your pocket can press the magic call 911 buttons," the post states. "We don't mind the fishing reports, but let's reserve 911 for emergencies."

Many of the calls came from people's pockets while they were on Upper Red Lake, the sheriff's office said. Anglers flocked to the lake – one of few with a solid sheet of ice – over the weekend, causing traffic jams in northern Minnesota. 

Some smartphones have an emergency SOS feature that if you press a button enough times, it'll automatically call 911. For iPhones, it'll call 911 if you rapidly press the side button five times. 

iPhones and other smartphones allow you to turn this feature off in settings, which may be a good idea if you're crouching over a hole with your phone jammed in your pocket. 

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov

Wild win battle of NHL's hottest teams, extend winning streak to six

Kirill Kaprizov delivered a shootout winner to take down the Maple Leafs.

Eric Kendricks

Vikings downgrade Eric Kendricks to out against Lions

The Vikings have also activated Michael Pierce from injured reserve.

u.s. attorney

Minnesotan sentenced after assaulting man with baseball bat

Marshall Wayne Boshey was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

Target store

Target's gift card discount is back, but for this weekend only

The fine print: for Target Circle members only (but membership is free).

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

Minneapolis teen arrested in St. Cloud after fleeing police in stolen vehicle

The vehicle was stolen in a car-jacking in Minneapolis Thursday.

snow, blowing snow

Winter storm warnings issued with heavy snow set to slam MN

Parts of northern Minnesota could see more than a foot of snow, but there won't be much in the Twin Cities.

D'Angelo Russell

With KAT out, Timberwolves can't upset Nets

D'Angelo Russell stepped up but couldn't overcome Brooklyn's firepower.

Everson Griffen Vikings dot com

Everson Griffen confirms he has bipolar disorder

"I’ve been running from it a long time. I’m not ashamed of it anymore.”

Angela Renee Jones, St. Cloud murder suspect

St. Cloud suspect now charged in two local murder cases

Both murders happened within a day of each other in June.


ice rescue 4

26 anglers rescued after Lake Superior ice sheet floats away in Duluth

After multiple trips, all the anglers were safely rescued from the ice and brought to shore.

eckles township - lake bemidji - wildfire

Sheriff: Stop calling 911 about low-flying planes, they're putting out wildfires

Beltrami County has had issues with people in the Bemidji area complaining about firefighting planes this summer.

Screen Shot 2020-01-17 at 10.08.51 PM

Kid sends apology note after prank calls to Minnesota sheriff's office

The prankster was visiting his grandparents when they made the call.

Uber to allow Minnesota riders, drivers to text 911 via its app

The safety feature allows people to report emergencies during a ride-share journey.

911 dispatch

Multi-state 911 outage affected 135 emergency calls in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has been investigating the CenturyLink outage.

ice fishing

Anglers allowed 1 walleye this winter on Mille Lacs

The regulations are the same as last winter.

Sheriff: Stay off the ice, 'go buy some fishsticks from the frozen section'

A warning to anglers who think the ice is safe right now.