Answering The Call Of Duty

, , , , , | Right | August 10, 2017

(I’m working the graveyard shift at our dispatch center, answering 911 calls from the public. Usually this is the time when we receive our most interesting callers.)

Caller: “I’d like to speak the head honcho, you know? Who is ever in charge of the… uh… department or police or whatever?”

Me: *thinking he wants to speak to a supervisor to make a complaint* “What is this in regards to?”

Caller: “About a job. How to get one with the police.”

Me: “…I’m sorry?”

Caller: “I’m asking about how to get a job there.”

Me: “You’re asking about getting a job… on an emergency line?”

Caller: “Yes, I think I’m really good at what I’m doing now. I could help out, work as… uh… what’s it called… for an undercover cop. That’s what I mean. I could work as an undercover cop. How can I get a job doing that?”

(Just to make sure he’s not doing anything that could endanger himself or the public, I decide to continue and ask questions.)

Me: “And what is it that you’re exactly doing right now?”

Caller: “I’ve been noticing a lot of crime and drug sales in the area. At my home and at [Major Intersection on East side of town.] I play a lot of Call of Duty and I know what I’m doing. I’m just watching all the activity around me. I think I could be a real help. I just have this one little thing in court that I need to take care of, but other than that, I don’t have anything else. I’m clean.”

(At this point, I’m too flabbergasted to be my usual stern self when someone abuses the 911 system. I remain patiently polite, already imagining telling this story later.)

Me: “Okay… well… you will need to go to the town’s website and look for any job openings for the police department. I think they’re hiring officers now, so go take a look. Just don’t call 911 asking for a job here. And if you do see anything drug deals or anything like that going on, don’t confront the people, just give us a call and let us know.”

Caller: “Yeah, yeah, of course. I won’t confront them. I’m just watching. So, just go to the town’s website?”

Me: “Yes. You can fill out an application there.”

Caller: “Thank you so much! I really think I could be a big help.” *click*

Dispatcher: *next to me* “Did someone really just call 911 for a job? Were they serious?”

Me: “I… don’t… know.”

Their Demands Are Just Hot Air

, , , , | Right | June 25, 2017

(I work as an admin. assistant at a local fire department. One of my duties is to issue burning permits for anybody wanting to burn brush. This happens over the phone.)

Caller: “Burning permit. Now.”

Me: “Due to the high winds we are not issuing burning permits at this time. You can call to check tomorrow and then come in to the station.”

Caller: “I can’t tomorrow. You need to make the wind stop. I pay your salary so you have to.” *slams down phone*

Me: “Yeah, I’ll get right on that.”

When Your Gender Draws Fire

, , , | Hopeless | June 16, 2017

(I always wanted to be a firefighter, though I am a female. I apply, but they just laugh at me. Later after that, I attend a meeting in a government building where the fire chief will be there to give a speech. To my surprise, she’s a female! After the speech, I sidle up to her.)

Fire Chief: “And how are you, young lady?”

Me: “I’m fine. I must say, it was an honest surprise that you would be speaking today.”

Fire Chief: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Well, I’ve always wanted to become a firefighter but when I applied, they just laughed. I think it was because I’m a woman.”

Fire Chief: “Well, that’s not very nice! Keep at your dreams. Look at me; I’m a female and I made it!” *walks away*

(The cynical side of me wanted to think that maybe she had connections or something like that. But her words gave me a bit of hope. Maybe someday…)

The Key To The Problem Is Not The Key

| UK | Working | December 7, 2016

(I do vehicle maintenance admin for a regional ambulance service. This is both emergency and patient transport. I get a call from a PT team leader based at a small station.)

Team Leader: “Hi, we’re missing the keys for [vehicle number]. Do you know if it was cleaned last night?”

Me: *checks* “No, it looks like the cleaners haven’t been to [Station] yet this week.”

Team Leader: “Oh. I’ll just go check with the crew.” *talks to ambulance crew and returns* “They say that they gave the keys to the cleaners, and the last time they saw it, it was being cleaned in the garage. The cleaners must have taken them and we need them back right now.”

Me: *knowing where this will lead* “Okay, well, the cleaners work night shifts, so they won’t be at work right now. I can ask their supervisor to get in touch with them at home, though.”

(This is deemed a necessity, since we can’t have working ambulances off the road. I call the supervisor and explain. Ten minutes later, the team leader calls back again.)

Team Leader: “We can’t actually find the vehicle either. We’re worried the cleaners might have taken it, since they have the keys. It’s needed urgently on the road and we’re already low on vehicles today. Our response level will be affected because of this.”

(I then relay the information to the supervisor. They call me back an hour later, since the cleaners didn’t pick up at first. I get in touch with Team Leader.)

Me: “Our supervisor has been in touch with the cleaners, but they haven’t been to that station last night–”

Team Leader: “Oh, I was meaning to call you back. We found the vehicle. It was actually outside in the car park and, uh… one of the crew had the keys in his pocket. Sorry about that.”

(That station was tiny! It had FIVE vehicles allocated to it! How could they not notice one outside? And why did they never ask crews to check themselves for keys before automatically assuming that cleaners took them? Those kind of issues happened so often that we raised it with management. But crews are the life-savers, so it didn’t matter how they behave.)

They’re Probably Grumpy In The Daytime Too

, | Norman, OK, USA | Right | October 27, 2016

(I work as a dispatcher for a university police department. I work night shift. I stay up all night even on my days off. It is about two or three in the morning and the phone rings.)

Me: “[My Name], Police Department.”

Caller: *an older female* “Y’all need to turn your stadium lights off!”

(Football is a religion in this town. The gigantic football stadium is practically right in the middle of everything, and its lights are often kept on at night for workers.)

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Caller: “I’m trying to sleep and those d*** lights are shining right into my house!”

Me: I’m sorry about that, ma’am. It’s up to the athletic department to turn the lights on and off, but I can pass it along to my lieutenant and see if anything can be done.”

Caller: *further ranting about not being able to sleep and how inconsiderate the university is, etc. before hanging up*

(Had I not been on a recorded line, I might have pointed out the irony to her in calling a night shift worker in the middle of the night and complaining about not being able to sleep to someone who has to sleep in the middle of the day. With the noise. And the light. And the traffic…)

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