The City of Sedalia has adopted a "Telephone Harassment of a Public Safety Agency" ordinance that is designed to stop vital emergency resources from being diverted by non-emergency calls.

The ordinance comes in response to a trend that has seen emergency resources diverted by non-urgent calls. The ordinance includes specific definitions for what constitutes harassment and non-emergency calls. It sets a threshold for what is considered "repeatedly" and lays out penalties for those in violation.

Mayor Andrew Dawson said in a news release, “This is not about restricting the public’s right to access emergency services but rather ensuring that these lines remain open for genuine emergencies. By targeting the abuse of the system, we are preserving the integrity of our emergency services and ensuring they’re available for those in real need.”

The City of Sedalia says the ordinance is grounded in real-world situations where non-emergency calls have occurred while dispatchers were addressing true emergencies. The City also says it's a response to a growing problem the City has been facing.

The new law's penalties include a fine for a first offense, while a second offense within a year of the first may lead to jail time. Additionally, the law allows public safety agencies to issue warning letters to violators when appropriate.

The full text of the ordinance is available at the Sedalia City Clerk's Office, and the ordinance is now in full effect.

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