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'Numerous' people called 9-1-1 after last night's Amber Alert . . . to complain

People also tweeted their displeasure, but 'Need to locate child outweighed momentary inconvenience some people people encountered,' says Peel Police constable
Eleven-year-old Riya Rajkumar was abducted and killed on Feb. 14. Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, is in custody. The Amber Alert that was issued late in the night of Feb. 14 saw some people taking to social media to complain, while others phoned 911 in Peel Region to complain. (Supplied)

Peel Regional Police issued an Amber Alert at around 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 14, triggering thousands of Ontarians phones to alert them of missing 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar.

The alert system is designed to widely disseminate information about a missing person, usually a child, through cellphones, television and radio broadcasts, and electronic roadway signs.

Riya was located deceased at a residence in Brampton, and her father Roopesh Rajkumar was located and arrested, about an hour after the initial Amber Alert went out.

In the wake of the first alert, Peel Regional Police became inundated with complaints about the alert disturbing them, and were forced to issue a statement via Twitter.

"Our communications bureau is receiving numerous calls to 9-1-1, complaining about the late hour of the Amber Alert. As a direct result of someone receiving the alert, we were able to locate the suspect and his vehicle. The system works. Thank you to all those that called with tips."

Complaints about the alert were not limited to 9-1-1 calls to Peel Regional Police however, as Twitter lit up with angry messages from people who were upset that they were roused from their sleep while an 11-year-old girl lost her life.


150219_amber-alert-deleted-tweet-sweetstefkaTwitter user @SweetStefka deleted the above tweet, and left the platform, after receiving an avalanche of backlash on social media. (Screen capture)

Communications officers with Peel police revealed on social media that the force received a series of complaints from residents that the Amber Alert was issued at a late hour. 

"I can't even begin to describe how disappointing and upsetting it is to read the comments, emails and calls to our communications bureau complaining about receiving an Amber Alert late at night," wrote Const. Akhil Mooken on Twitter.

Actor and comedian Gerry Dee had some words for those who were complaining about the Amber Alert's late hour.

Twitter user @SweetStefka was raked over the coals for her tweet and has since deleted her account.

While others may not have taken their tweets to the level of insensitivity that @SweetStefka did, there was no shortage of people who felt it necessary to express their annoyance.

Peel Regional Police Cst. Akhil Mooken responded to the backlash at around 4:30 a.m. Feb. 15.

"I appreciate that a lot of people were sleeping but the immediate need to locate the child outweighed the momentary inconvenience that some people encountered," wrote Mooken on Twitter.

"Tragically this incident did not have the outcome we were all hoping for but the suspect was located as a direct result of a citizen receiving the alert and calling 9-1-1. The system works."


Matt Durnan

About the Author: Matt Durnan

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