On September 18, Princeton Councilwoman Jo Butler made a 911 call from the Dinky station because she was concerned about whether the Princeton Police or Princeton University Public Safety respond to such emergency calls.
Previously at a Council meeting in September, she received conflicting answers as to whether calls made from a cell phone are routed to campus public safety or the police. So she decided to make a call herself and see who answered. She asked which department she was calling and identified herself as an elected official.
The result of the call, which went to the Princeton Police dispatch: She is now under investigation by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office for making a false 911 call.
The Princeton Police flagged the issue and referred the matter to Administrator Robert Bruschi, who then contacted the Mercer County Prosecutor about the issue, a police official said. No charges have been filed in the case so far.
“I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong,” Butler told Planet Princeton. “I’ve been interested in this important public safety issue for a long time. The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office knows a great deal about this issue. I’m happy to have an investigation. I’ll be glad to talk more about it when the investigation has been completed.”
The issue of who responds to emergency calls has been a matter of concern for some public officials over the past year. It has not always been clear who responds to which Princeton University buildings off campus, and there was confusion about who responds to cell phone calls.
Butler and other officials expressed concerns about possible delays or miscommunication in routing more serious incidents from Princeton University to the Princeton Police. The town and University later reached an agreement about which department would handle what issues.
Police Capt. Nick Sutter said he could not comment on the Butler case today because it is under investigation by the county.