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.

Criminally Decaffeinated

, , , , , , | Legal | November 1, 2018

Me: “911 Emergency Services. Do you need police, fire, or ambulance?”

Caller: “I need you to tell me why there are a bunch of police cars blocking the driveway to [Gas Station]; I need my coffee!”

Me: “Ma’am, there was a robbery and murder in [Gas Station] overnight. The police are still investigating what happened. I am afraid [Gas Station] is closed for business for the time being.”

Caller: “I need my coffee!”

Me: “Well, I’m sorry, ma’am. There is nothing that can be done at the moment. Now, if there isn’t anything else, I have other calls waiting. Have a nice day.”

(The caller hangs up. Thirty seconds later, my partner’s phone rings:)

Partner: “Ma’am, as my partner already explained to you, someone robbed [Gas Station], and then shot a customer and killed the clerk, so the store won’t be open until tomorrow at the earliest.”

(The caller says something else.)

Partner: “No, ma’am, a police officer is not going to brew a pot of coffee and bring you out a cup, even if you pay for it.”

(The caller says something:)

Partner: “Because, ma’am, that isn’t their job, and they are not just sitting around doing nothing; they all have various task and cannot leave their vehicles or posts simply to get you a coffee. Now, if there is nothing else, I am going to disconnect this call, as I have another call coming in at this very moment.” *click*

(Ten seconds later:)

Me: “911—”

Caller: “I need my f****** coffee, and I need it now!”

Me: “I understand that, ma’am, you have called us three times in less than five minutes to tell us this. We all need our coffee first thing in the morning, and can be grumpy without it, but as my partner and I have both explained to you, [Gas Station] is closed, so you will have to go elsewhere. There is a [Coffee Chain] just five minutes down the road.”

Caller: “What?! I’m not paying $7 for that swill when I can get my coffee here for 99 cents! Now if only your officers would move and let me in!”

Me: “Ma’am, you are tying up an emergency line with a non-emergency call, and as I said, this is your third call regarding this. It needs to stop, as this line is for life and death emergencies only. Now, if you don’t have an actual emergency, I have to disconnect this call, as I have other calls coming in that require my attention. Do not call back unless you have an actual emergency; doing so could result in a Abuse Of 911 System charge, and you could be arrested!”

Caller: “How dare you threa—”

Me: *click*

(Not but five minutes later:)

Me: “911 emergency. Do y—”

Caller: *screeching* “Listen to me! I have to be at work in fifteen minutes! Tell your officers to move their cars so I can come in and get my coffee! It will only take me five minutes, and then they can go back to doing whatever they’re doing.”

Me: “Ma’am, I warned you that if you called back, you would get in trouble for tying up the emergency line with a non-emergency issue. I am going to dispatch an officer to come over and talk to you.”

Caller: “You can’t do s*** to me! You work for me; I pay your salary. And if those piggies won’t get out of the way for me to get my own coffee, then tell them to bring it out to me!”

(Just then I hear someone approach the caller; it’s one of our officers on scene:)

Police Officer: “Excuse me, ma’am, but why all the screaming? Are you hurt? Are you family? Is there something I can do to help you?”

Caller:Finally! I have been talking to your worthless 911 operator for the last ten minutes. I am glad he finally doing his job.”

Police Officer: “What do you mean, ma’am? I’m confused.”

Caller: “I told your operator that since you guys won’t let me go inside to get my own coffee, he should have an officer come out to take my order and get the coffee for me!”

Police Officer: “Okay, I’m confused. Did you just say you called 911 to tell the dispatcher to tell the homicide detective and crime scene investigators to vacate the building so you can get your coffee?”

Caller: “Yes! Now move your cars so I can pull in!”

Police Officer: “No, ma’am. First, calm down; there is no reason for you to be yelling, and second, there is a gas station about five minutes down the road where I am sure they’ll be glad to serve you a cup of coffee that isn’t contaminated with blood.”

Caller: *screeching at the top of her lungs* “No! And don’t tell me what to do; you’re not my boss! I am not going to f****** [Coffee Chain] and paying $7 for a cup of coffee when I can get it here for 99 cents! Now, move your f****** cars and people so I can go inside and get my coffee and leave. I am already running late for work, and every minute you have me waiting, the later I am going to be. You will have to explain to my boss that you were the reason why I was late!”

Police Officer: “Well, I’m sorry to tell you this, ma’am, but you’re going to be even later if you don’t get into your car and leave, as you are keeping me and other officers from being able to conduct our jobs. Unless you get back into your vehicle and drive off, I will have no choice but to arrest you for disorderly conduct.”

Caller: “You can’t do s*** to me; I have done nothing wrong! Now, I demand to be let in, or I will be calling my friend, the mayor—”

Police Officer: “Ma’am, you’re under arrest.”

Caller: *shuffling in the background as the phone drops* “Hey! Heeeey! What are you doing?! Get your hands off of me now, or I am going to sue you and get you fired!”

Police Officer: “Ma’am, you are now under arrest for disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace and assault on a law enforcement officer for elbowing me in the stomach as I attempted to handcuff you.”

(After her initial arrest, a charge of abuse of the 911 system was added because she called 91 four times in less than five minutes, preventing us from answering two life and death calls that had to be rerouted to another dispatch center a few miles away.)

Will Have To Create A New Call-Code For This One

, , , , | Legal | September 21, 2018

Once, my mom, a police officer, got a 911 call reporting an ongoing murder.

The cops went with lights and sirens to the scene and asked where the murder was taking place. The caller lead them to the bathroom where they heard shrieks of terror and somebody yelling, “DIE, DIE, DIE!”

They promptly kicked the door down… and were met with the sight of a man slapping a slipper around, trying to kill a spider, and an arachnophobic girl shrieking in terror. No charges were laid.

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