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False alarm leads to police car crash, arrest

By Randy Bell

Clinton police say they don’t get a lot of calls about fictitious crimes, but, when they do, it can cause some real problems. A Clinton Police Department (CPD) detective was injured October 19 when he wrecked his car rushing to the scene of a reported shooting on McDonald Drive—an incident that turned out to be a hoax. Kawandralyn Harris was arrested on a charge of false reporting of a crime.

“We don’t know why she lied about the shooting, or even if she was involved in a shooting,” says Police Chief Ford Hayman. “We do know that her story was false about being shot at in Clinton. She confessed to lying to us, and we also found witnesses that confirmed that there wasn’t a shooting at her residence, as she implied initially.”

The crime with which Harris is charged is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000.

“In this instance, due to her falsifying a shooting incident, [claiming] it was happening at that moment, our response was immediate, [believing] that a violent felony was occurring in Clinton,” Hayman says. “In that response, a detective wrecked his car, injuring himself. Our time, resources and focus was spent on responding to a fake call. We obviously shouldn’t have wrecked a car, but it did happen while responding to a false report of a crime.”

The detective who was injured was taken to a hospital but has since returned to work.

At the October 17 Board of Aldermen meeting, Fire Chief Jeff Blackledge said his department has responded to 369 false alarms so far this year, but none of those was a deliberate attempt to send firefighters on a wild goose chase.

According to Blackledge, “We have not had in the last several years any malicious false alarms.”

The chief said many of the calls that fell into the false alarm category involved EMS incidents in which it was determined that a fire department response was not needed, and sometimes firefighters are dispatched because of an accidental activation of a medical alert device. Blackledge said, occasionally, reported fires turn out to be something harmless.

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