December 21, 2014

Elyria
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Prank calls leave police searching for officer in trouble

LORAIN — An anonymous report of an officer in trouble Wednesday night sent four police departments combing the city, with no results.

About 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, the Lorain Police Department received a call through dispatch that shots were fired in the area of Root Road and Colorado Avenue. Officers, initially believing the caller was another member of the department, rushed to the area to search for signs of shots being fired or an injured police officer.

More Lorain police officers joined the search, checking the area around the intersection, according to police.

During the search, the anonymous caller reached out to officers again, this time whispering a police code through the radio that indicated an officer was in trouble, according to the police report.

The caller then called for Lorain police Officer Eric Alten — who had just searched the railroad tracks near Root Road — to return to the tracks, the report said.

When Alten returned with other officers, they found no sign of the caller.

Police called for assistance from Sheffield and Sheffield Lake police departments, along with the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office.

Officers from all four departments walked along the railroad tracks around Colorado Avenue and Root Road, searching for evidence of an officer in trouble. Police eventually returned to their departments and Lorain dispatch reached out to all of their police officers — contacting them by phone or in person — to make sure they were all right.

When all officers were accounted for, police concluded that the two reports were prank calls from someone who knew how to use the dispatch system, said Lorain police Capt. James McCann.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.