Crime - Sacto 911

Accidental 911 calls traced to Apple's Elk Grove phone repair facility

Apple Inc.’s Elk Grove facility.
Apple Inc.’s Elk Grove facility.

Apple's iPhone repair and refurbishing center has been identified as the source of apparently inadvertent 911 calls received by Elk Grove police and Sacramento County sheriff's dispatch centers over the past five months.

Since October, the Elk Grove Police Department's dispatch center has been receiving about 20 non-subscriber initialized 911 calls per day, said Officer Jason Jimenez, police spokesman. The calls show no service provider for the phone, but the dispatch center has traced them to a cell tower near the Apple campus and determined that they are coming from the phone repair facility, he said.

"When the line is open, there's no sound of a struggle or an emergency," he said.

If a 911 call were received from someone's personal cellphone at the Apple campus, the personal phone information would show up, Jimenez said.

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department's communication center also has received such calls traced to the Apple facility. Sgt. Shaun Hampton, sheriff's spokesman, said the department has been less affected than Elk Grove police but is providing data to help Elk Grove officials, who are working directly with Apple to resolve the problem.

Since Jan. 1, Hampton said, the sheriff's communication center has received 47 uninitialized 911 calls and has been able to document that 30 of those came from the Apple facility.

Jimenez said Apple is aware of the problem and trying to solve it.

"At this time, public safety is not jeopardized," he said.

Dispatchers are able to assess the non-initialized calls in 10 to 15 seconds, then clear the call, he said.

Efforts to contact an Apple spokesman Thursday afternoon were unsuccessful. Workers in the facility have previously told The Bee that part of their jobs was to trouble-check iPhones by seeing if various buttons worked.

The new iPhone X has an SOS function that automatically dials 911 when the user holds down the side button and one of the volume buttons, according to the Apple website.