People furious that the Bellaire Police chief has hired the former Cleveland officer who shot and killed Tamir Rice have been calling to voice their complaints.
The problem is, they’ve been calling the wrong number.
The old police line is no longer in service, and now it rings straight into Belmont County 911.
The 911 office is on the other side of the county, and has nothing to do with the operation of the Bellaire Police Department.
Dispatchers who need to answer fire and emergency calls are flooded with angry calls about the controversial hiring of Timothy Loehmann.
“It started Friday night with national media calling to inquire about the story that broke locally,” said Belmont County 911 Executive Director Bryan Minder. “And yesterday was the worst day by far. We had more than 500 calls come in. Some being polite, some swearing, some yelling at the dispatchers. We’ve gotten calls from all over the United States, Canada, Australia. And it’s just because social media has posted that number.”
That number, (740) 676-3322, is the old Bellaire Police number from when Bellaire was a city and had its own dispatchers.
Now it’s a village, and the police department has no phone that the public can call.
Since Friday, 911 has had to put on extra dispatchers and have supervisors answer calls as well.
They say they’ve been polite and professional, but it’s been overwhelming.
But there’s one positive note.
They say they haven’t missed a single legitimate 911 fire or emergency call, through it all.