Pomona : Teaching Young About 911

The Police Department and GTE California Inc. have developed a program aimed at teaching children to dial 911 in an emergency and deterring them from abusing the system.

Police Chief Lloyd Wood said the department, which received 84,800 calls on 911 last year, wastes resources responding to non-emergencies, such as calls from children.

At the same time, said Madonna Petro, a GTE supervisor, some children are so hesitant to dial 911 that they may fail to use the system in an emergency.

The Police Department and GTE gave 911 instruction to 43,000 children at the Los Angeles County Fair this year. Since then, Sgt. Ronald McDonald said, GTE has developed a portable system that will enable Pomona officers to present the program in schools.

Children will dial 911 on a portable phone and hear tape recordings in English and Spanish on emergency procedures.

Officers will begin presenting the program, which includes a six-minute video, at schools in about a month.

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