Question: Last week, our son accidentally dialed 911, and when the troopers arrived, they came into our house to check it out even though we told them things were fine and that we'd rather they not come in. Can they do that without a warrant?
Trooper Chad Goeden
Answer: Yes, they can. The courts have ruled that 911 is an emergency-only number, and when that number is dialed, responding officers have a duty to respond to the emergency, or to ensure that no emergency really exists. That duty includes entering into a house to make sure things are OK.
Think of it this way. How do the troopers know that there isn't an intruder hiding upstairs, holding your child hostage and telling you to tell the troopers to go away? Or that there hasn't just been a violent fight between you and your spouse, and he or she has coerced you into not telling the police what really happened after you called 911.
The only way we can be sure and fulfill our duty is to come into your home and see for ourselves that no one else is there, or that there are no signs of a violent struggle. Keep in mind that we are not there to judge your housekeeping, just to make sure that everything is OK, then we'll be on our way.
If you have questions that you would like to ask a trooper, please send them to: Alaska State Troopers, 4060 Heath St., Homer, AK 99603. Or you can e-mail them to Chad_Goeden@dps.state.ak.us. The Alaska State Troopers remind you to always wear your seat belt. It's the law.
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