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CALL 6: Pushing help - do the Monon Trail emergency call boxes actually work?

Posted at 12:45 AM, Feb 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-09 08:41:20-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- If you've walked along the Monon Trail, you've probably passed them by, but most people have never actually used them.

They're hard to miss - those big red emergency call boxes with a blue light on top -  but do they work? Our Call 6 Investigates team decided to test them out. 

Six emergency call boxes sit along the southern end of the Monon Trail, one every few blocks between 13th Street and 34th Street.

When we tested the first box in the 1300 block of the Monon Trail, it made the call, but dispatchers couldn't hear anything from the other end of the line. They did, however, follow protocol and officers were dispatched to make sure there was no concern. 

The next three boxes along the southern end of the trail worked fine, but the fifth box also had issues. This time our call went through, but dispatchers couldn't make out what we were saying. 

The final box in the 3400 block of the Monon Trail was completely out of order. Literally, it had a sign that said "Out of Order" plastered across it. 

Indy Parks said that box would require a whole new system, and they hadn't been able to replace it yet. They also said while the boxes are there for people's safety, they're not fool-proof and can fail for many reasons; including wiring, phone lines, heavy storms or rodent infestations. 

"The boxes are tested weekly, which involves pressing the button to call 911 dispatch," Indy Parks said. "For all emergency call box repairs, we work with a vendor who specializes in them. They can evaluate the best approach while contacting the appropriate company for parts and as needed a complete replacement of the box."

Indy Parks said they are working to repair the broken boxes, but they couldn't provide a timeline of when they would get fixed.