Why Are 911 Calls Made Public?

I have never understood why 911 calls and transcripts are made public? What public necessity resides in an emergency phone call usually made during the course of events which are often quite traumatic or life and death matters being made available to everyone?

The only thing I found was an opinion piece by the Attorney General of Florida Bill McCollum cited the “Florida Emergency Telephone Act” which states:

“Any record or information obtained by a public agency or a public safety agency for the purpose of providing services in an emergency and which reveals the name, address, or telephone number of any person requesting emergency service or reporting an emergency by accessing an emergency telephone number ‘911’ system is exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1), except that such record or information may be disclosed to a public safety agency. The exemption applies only to the name, address, or telephone number of any person reporting an emergency while such information is in the custody of the public agency or public safety agency which receives the initial ‘911’ telephone call. . . .”

That basically states that information gotten from the call except for name, address and telephone number can be made public but still does not answer why such is necessary.

Anyone with any idea or if you want to point me in the right direction, feel free to let me know and I’ll put up an update and give proper credit of course.

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Breaking Down Gender Barriers

It’s not every day you get to hear about a high school girl captaining a varsity boy’s soccer team and being successful at it.

Meet Aditi Vyas. A senior who goes to the Middlesex County Academy in Edison, New Jersey which is a school only 10 years into existence and one that only accepts 40 kids each year from the entire county based upon an entrance exam which usually yields only a 20% acceptance rate.

As a senior this year, she co-captained the squad to a 9-9-1 record but an outstanding 7-2-1 in division mark where they fell one pathetically refereed game short of winning at least a share of the Gold Division. I had a couple of opportunities to coach her both during her regular school season and in two indoor seasons where she has been nothing short for a great leader for her squad which at times were quite inexperienced. There was never a doubt in my mind she would be able to overcome some of the verbal/physical abuse you take in the GMC (or in any competitive environment) as a female going up against male opponents.

When the Academy soccer program back in 2004, the initial squad featured two girls with the Scala sisters who certainly took more than their fair share of abuse on the playing field but if you were to ask anybody from the program over the years, they wouldn’t replace either one of them and I am certain that has been the case for all the girls that have passed through the program since from Danielle and Lauren Scala to Allison Mazur to Aditi Vyas and will be the case for those to follow.

Coming from a school with approximately 150 students, it didn’t matter where you were from, it didn’t matter if you were a freshman or senior and it most certainly didn’t matter what your gender was. Having a great leader and coach who stood up for the team and instilled these beliefs, made the task to be just another day on the soccer field. It is good to see the school get some more recognition which has finished at or near the top of its division despite carrying a co-ed roster from year 1 going 55-54-2 since 2004 and 45-23-2 in division.

For a look at the entire piece that was featured, click here: The Home News Tribune: Locker Room.

Reddit Runs International Secret Santa

It’s no surprise the economy is shrinking and so is the number of presents under most people’s trees but thanks to one Web site, nearly 3,000 people will have one special surprise from someone they’ve never met before. The members of Reddit.com, a Web site where users share links to breaking news stories, photos and more, have gathered together in what they believe is the biggest secret Santas ever and I participated in the event along with a roommate of mine, both of us who have been members of the site for a couple of years now.

The idea started simply enough, with one member “kickme444” asking if anyone was interested in a gift exchange and, like most social media, the idea exploded in just days. I am really excited to see the idea take off and see some of the press coverage it has received over the past week or so including the ABC article and CBC clip I have attached at the bottom of the post.

Kickme444 and members of the site designed a site, wrote programming to match up givers to receivers and come December packages will arrive from around the country and possibly around the world. Unofficially 3,500 participants are from the United States, but the rest of the 1,000 members hail from 53 other countries varying from Canada to Australia to Japan and beyond.

The current Guinness Book record holder for the largest secret Santa is more than 1,500 people, held by the staff at UK’s pharmacy chain store Boots. This exchange is set to double the number and smash the record.

This Secret Santa is unique in its relative anonymity. When signing up, Redditors could volunteer information about themselves and participants can look at their recipient’s past comments to get an idea of their interests and personality.

Suggested value of gift and shipping is around $15 but so far the average gift has cost about $27 with another $10 spent on shipping. The organizers have stated, “Handmade awesomeness is suggested, thoughtfulness is required!” Some are opting for homemade gifts – original art, photos, mix CDs, pepper seeds or items unique to their area. Discussion of ideas and requests have been flying on the site for the past few weeks.

Initially I did not know what to get as a present for my Secret Santee as he had very limited participation on the community site but a submitted form allowed everyone to enter some items they are interested and it listed a couple of television shows they were interested in and they wanted a poster from those shows. That made my

Gifts were scheduled be shipped out by Dec. 10 and assuming plenty of redditors are procrastinators, a lot of gifts including mine were shipped out on the last date. Upon receiving the gift, community members have begun posting photos of their present on a thread for Reddit Gifts for the rest to see.

Another noteworthy piece from an ABC affiliate out in Seattle titled “Web Site Runs Elaborate Secret Santa Gift Exchange“.