Sedona AZ (May 29, 2012) – Frequently it only becomes real if we are confronted head-on with a situation of unknown consequences.
At 11:35 AM on May 9th the phone rang and the Caller ID displayed “Inmate” with an accompanying phone number of (602) 281-1847. The message indicated only that it was from the Buckeye jail and, if the recipient happened to be legal council, to hang up and notify the sheriff’s office at (602) 876-1202.
Further instructions given were: to learn the cost of the call press 8; to refuse the call press 5; to block future calls press 7; and to decline the call hang up. Also the call was not to be forwarded or transferred.
Strange feeling it was because, to my knowledge, no one would be calling me from the Buckeye jail. A name was not offered so if anyone I knew was in trouble they remained unidentified.
Then in the back of my mind I vaguely remembered having heard some warning of similar such calls being made indicating they were from a relative of the person being contacted.
A day or so later I made a call to (602) 876-1202, the number given for legal council. Indeed, it was the answering network for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
The first option offered for non-attorneys was one whereby complaints could be made about unwanted collect calls. That number is (602) 876-5412 which I called and spoke with a real live person.
Sure enough, I was asked if knew anyone or had a relative in the Buckeye jail. Based on my answer and some other generalized comments about my concerns, I was told that by having rejected the call completely I had, indeed, done the proper thing.
Other responses might very well have enacted access to my phone for unlimited long distance calls to be made by inmates and charged to my telephone number. I was told there wasn’t a means by which to find the name or names of those placing the call. It was just a known pastime for inmates to do this sort of thing whenever they had the opportunity, and the use of my phone line could have been either a misdialed or random number.
Beware. Whether we choose to or not, we walk among ’em.