Call 911 for pothole? Depends on who you ask

A Michigan county's campaign to quickly deal with potentially car-damaging potholes is drawing resistance from state police.
AP Wire
Jan 31, 2014

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel unveiled the campaign Wednesday asking motorists to call 911 if they spot a bad pothole and guaranteeing a response within an hour.

Later in the day, however, state police Lt. Michael A. Shaw issued a statement asking that the public not be directed to "tie up 911 lines" with pothole calls. He says pothole problems should be directed to a state hotline, a state website or the appropriate local road agency.

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham says he's OK with 911 calls in his county for hazardous potholes, since they're like any other road problem.

For non-hazardous potholes, Macomb County says call the road department.




Let's see, deputy...I have on my screen two potholes and and a PI and a heart attack. That guy with the pothole is PO'd. Better get there quick or Executive Haaaackel might get mad at me. Can you stay stupid?

Former Grandhavenite

In school they drilled it into our heads that 911 should be called for emergencies only- which I generally interpret to mean that response time is critical, typically because someone's in danger or needs medical attention ASAP. It seems like over time it's become more of a general-purpose way to get in touch with local police since it's an easy number that everyone knows, compared to looking up the regular non-emergency police phone number. I was involved in a minor non-injury car accident a few years ago and was a little surprised when the other driver asked me to call 911 on my cell phone just for a deputy to come take a routine accident report. At a former job, my boss once had me call 911 to report vandalism to the outside of the building- and as far as police matters go, it doesn't get much less 'emergency' than that! Both times they've answered with something like, "Please state the nature of the emergency" and I've responded, "Sorry this isn't really an emergency but..." which they didn't seem to mind at all. So honestly, I don't even really know whether 911 is intended for emergencies only like they told me in school as a little kid. Or, is it a perfectly acceptable way get in touch with police/fire/EMS/etc for general business as well?


For a report, accident, vandalism, things of that nature, incidents where you need an officer!! A pothole, I think not!! I'm certainly not an authority on the matter, but common sense tells me that the Department of Public Works or Road Commission should be taking care of calls about pot holes. It's a bit frightening that a person running an executive office would be so unintelligent and out of touch to make such a suggestion.

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