The Alarm Has Been Terminated

, , , , , | Legal | March 25, 2019

(A call about a burglar alarm going off at three am comes over the radio for my partner and me to respond to. We coordinate our approach and arrival together and check the outside of the house. We notice the back door is cracked open, but both locks have been set and are still in the “locked” position. There is no sign of force, so we radio in that we are making entry. We work each room together, and as we come to one of the back bedrooms, my partner is going in first and hasn’t even broken the threshold when we hear a voice shout out.)

Voice: “GET YOUR HANDS UP!”

(The next thing I know, my partner fires off three rounds, with me dropping to a knee and coming around the side of him)

Partner: “GET DOWN! GET DOWN! Ge– Oh, s***.”

(That’s when I noticed he had just shot a stand-up cutout of Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator holding a shotgun and, after my ears stopped ringing completely, I heard a lot of squawking and crashing. Turns out it was the home of a retired police officer from another state and his parrot was taught to say police terms. He and the wife were on vacation and they hadn’t shut the back door completely, which set off the alarm that night. The house was cleared with no one in it, and the PD paid to patch the holes in the wall. From then on, anytime we saw him we’d say, “SQUAWK! DON’T SHOOT!”)

911 Is Now Offering Coupons!

, , , , , , , | Legal | March 21, 2019

(I’m a police officer. A woman in her mid-50s calls 911 stating she has been robbed at one of our local stores and she needs the police quick, and then she hangs up abruptly. Naturally, the dispatcher puts out an urgent call and we all drop what we’re doing. I am first to arrive, followed by two other officers from my department, several sheriffs vehicles, and a highway patrol trooper who was on the highway next to the location. We get there and start looking around for the victim when I see a woman with her hand in the air, waving at us.)

Woman: “Yoo-hoo! Officers, over here!”

(A deputy and I walk over to her while the others prepare to do a search. One of the deputies who responded is getting his dog ready to track.)

Me: “It’s our understanding you’ve been robbed, ma’am? How long ago was it? What did they rob you of? Which direction did they go afterward?”

(She replies that it happened about ten minutes ago, that they robbed her of about $5, and that they are still inside the store! The deputy and I both look at each other.)

Deputy: “No, he can’t be that stupid.”

(I whistle over to the other guys and tell them that the suspect fled into the store, so they gather around so we can get more details on what the person looked like.)

Me: “What did he look like? What was he wearing?”

Woman: “Oh, he’s wearing a store uniform. It was the manager, [Manager].”

Me: “Wait. You’re telling us the manager came outside, robbed you, and then went back into work?”

Woman: “No! He robbed me inside the store. He wouldn’t accept my $5-off coupon for my purchases, so he robbed me of $5. I want him arrested, and you can be sure I am going to be calling his bosses to get him fired, but I can’t imagine him having a job after you guys arrest him, anyway.”

(The deputy and I exchange a look of disbelief, and we tell the other officers they can resume patrol as we have the situation under control.)

Me: “Okay, ma’am, I am going to go inside and get his side of the story since we got your side.”

(I walk in and the manager is already waiting for me. He is waiting to see if we need anything from him, as he thought there was an incident in the parking lot. He had no idea we were there about him. I tell him why are there and what she said and everything.)

Manager: *does an actual facepalm* “Oh, my god. She actually did it? That woman is f****** bonkers. We have issues with her every time she comes in, trying to use fake coupons she finds online, and when we tell her they can’t be used, she always says she’s going to call 911 and say I robbed her.”

(We talked to the cashier who checked her out, and she confirmed the woman was nuttier than a fruit cake. I walked back outside. I didn’t even have to say anything; the deputy knew by the look on my face to hook the lady up with some shiny new bracelets. She promptly started fighting with us and ended up on the ground after she tried to back-kick the deputy between the legs. As we dragged her to the deputy’s cruiser, she was screaming about how the police never believe her when she tells them she’s been robbed, and just carrying on. She was charged with misusing the 911 system, filing a false police report, and assaulting a law enforcement official. Last I heard, she spent a little bit of time in jail for that stunt and was banned from just about every store in the area as she caused trouble at all of them.)

Dispatch The Parents’ Rights

, , , , | Legal | December 30, 2018

(It’s a busy night at the 112 call centre, with calls coming in nonstop. I answer the next call.)

Me: “Good evening, police—“

(A small voice interrupts me.)

Child: “Where’s Mommy?”

(She sounds no older than three or four years old. Mostly when small children call, they are playing with the house phone. The child starts crying.)

Child: “I don’t know where Mommy is!”

(In the background I can hear a baby crying.)

Me: “What’s your name?”

Child: “[Child].”

Me: “Hello, [Child]; who do I hear crying?”

Child: “That’s my brother; he’s still very tiny.”

Me: “Sweetie, are you sure Mommy isn’t home? Is Daddy home?”

Child: *sobbing* “I can’t find them anywhere!”

Me: “[Child], just stay on the telephone. I’ll help you, and together we’re going to find Mommy. Where do you live?”

Child: *whispers the name of a Dutch city*

Me: “Do you know what street you live on?”

Child: “No.”

(The baby has stopped crying. While I keep chatting with [Child] about her teddy bear, I ask a colleague to trace the call. The phone number is registered to an address in the city [Child] mentioned. I dispatch the nearest surveillance car to check on [Child].)

Me: “[Child], could you please go upstairs and look out the window? Do you see a police car?”

Child: “No.”

(The surveillance car checks in to tell me the former inhabitants of the address we found have recently moved and the neighbours don’t know their new address. While I am on the phone with [Child], a colleague gets a call from a man who sees a small child in the window of a house with no lights on. Concerned, he’d rung the doorbell, but no one answered. My colleague immediately sends the surveillance car to the address.)

Me: “[Child], do you know how to read?”

Child: “No. Wait, I see a police car!”

Me: “Can you open the door for the police and give them the telephone?”

Child: “Yes.”

Officer: “We’ve got them. The parents aren’t home. We’ll take them with us.”

(Later that night the parents came to pick up the two children. They had been to the movies. They couldn’t get a babysitter but thought the kids would be okay alone because they usually sleep through the night. The parents got a very stern talking-to and child protection services were notified.)

Cats Have Nine-One-One Lives

, , , , , | Legal | December 17, 2018

A few days ago I accidentally left my phone at home, face up on my bed. I finally got home late in the evening and noticed I had several missed calls and a voicemail.

I listened to the voicemail, and it turned out to be a call-back from a 911 operator! “Hello, this is 911. We have received several hang-ups from this phone number. Please give us a call back at 911 or [local police department’s number].”

I was confused, as I obviously hadn’t been home to make those calls, and there weren’t just one or two calls… There were a total of six calls made throughout the day to 911.

I can only conclude my cats called 911 to report abuse for “never feeding” them!

Anchorage, Alaska: A Thousand Thank-Yous

, , , , , , | Hopeless | December 14, 2018

Anchorage, Alaska experienced a 7.0-magnitude earthquake on the morning of November 30th, 2018. There was significant damage to infrastructure, roads, and buildings, but no collapses, and only a few older buildings have been deemed unsafe. No deaths reported! 72 hours after the major destruction of some of our main highways, they are back in commission, paved and striped. All the recovery efforts are simply amazing.

Stories have poured in thanking our amazing engineers and workers of the Alaska Department of Transportation getting our roads safe and fixed, the utility workers for going 24 hours a day to get us back on the grid and get us safe drinking water, and our first responders for a quick and calm emergency response.

But I’d like to take a minute to thank the gas station attendants who stayed at their jobs right after the quake to service the hundreds of panicked people filling up on gas before attempting the four- to five-hour trip home — a normal commute of 30 to 45 minutes — to Eagle River and the Mat-Su Valley. I would like to heartily thank the hundreds of grocery store clerks who stayed that day to keep the stores open, and who put in countless hours to clean up warehouses of glass and spills so that we could go in and get bread, water, and necessities — like deli sandwiches and any wine that survived the shake-up. And I want to thank the baristas who showed up at five am the day after, who held down the shaking syrup bottles through the many, many, many aftershocks and kept smiles on their faces. I just cannot even.

I would like to extend my enormous gratitude to the store clerks at our local True Value Hardware who swept most of the mess into a roped-off corner and opened early the next day because, “People are going to need to fix stuff up, and they need us open, not picture perfect.” At the same store, my husband witnessed a clerk scolding a fellow for trying to buy more than one set of water heater hoses saying, “Do you have multiple water heaters?” The fellow responded by shaking his head. The clerk asked, “Are you helping your neighbors?” The fellow sullenly shook his head in the negative again. The clerk said firmly, “Then I’ll only be selling you the one set; there are going to be a lot of people needing those today.”

To the cheerful diner waitress who kept our coffee topped up the day after this crazy event, to the artisans who forged ahead with a holiday craft show because people needed to have some cheer, to the musicians and actors who said that the show must go on… thank you a thousand times. THANK YOU.

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