Tuesday, March 24, 2009

9-1-1

Edit:
I'd penned this post some months ago ~ then totally forgot about it! But, I overheard something just this morning about a woman who'd died, because the police never responded to the correct address following her son's 911 call. Scary stuff, eh?! Here's my own tale:
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Have you ever had occasion to dial 911? Thankfully, I’ve not. But, try telling that to a certain Police Department in Florida.

I think… no I’m sure, it was the day after Christmas 2000. Returning home from a few days spent down south with mom, I noticed an official-looking, blue piece of paper affixed to my front door. Its contents informed me that the Police had been there in response to two 911 calls -- originating from inside my residence in the early hours. Say whaaat?!

Leaving my bags where they lay, I ran to the landline, dialed the PD’s non-emergency line and was patched through to the 911 Supervisor.
Process of elimination: No, at or about 2:00AM, I was sound asleep some 100 miles to the south. No, I live alone. No, no-one has a second key. No, all locks were changed when I purchased the townhouse. No, this phone’s the old-fashioned kind, not wireless. Yes, I own a dog … she was with me the entire time.

My turn: “Do you mind telling me, what exactly did your operator hear?
Nothing, nothing was said.
Both times? (To myself, This is crazy!!!)

I have to admit, they were very polite, thanked me for my time and asked if I would be available at this number if they had any further questions. One hour passed, then two. Unable to contain my curiosity, I called back. Turns out, they’d determined there was a snafu in the county’s switching system … something like that. I became lost in their techno-talk.

Later, I was left with two burning questions, neither one a pleasant scenario:

When there was no response to their knocks, why didn't the Police force entry? Remember, the Operator said she only heard breathing. What if I (or someone) was being held against my will, or laying on the floor having suffered a stroke?

Then, what circumstances surrounded the real caller? I know, that’s confidential, but I hate to think someone desperately needed the police and had no response.

(Have you figured out yet, I'm a true-crime junkie?)

Life’s sure curious. A few days later I was relating “my mystery” to a friend who reminded me of a talk given by a Public-Information Officer a few years before:

(He said), given the enormous growth of the County, it might be prudent to call 911 during non-peak hours ... (to) immediately say, "This is not an emergency." .... then ask, "What address is showing on your screen?”.

Well, I never mustered the courage to make that call …. I don’t want to get bawled out by some overworked operator or worse, issued a citation! Some days, you've just got to trust the System.

3 comments:

  1. Very interesting! I don't know what to say. I'm still trying to figure it all out....Ah yes, 40th Street Cafe. We haven't been there for awhile but we will be trying out their biscuits and gravy. I will let your husband know what I think. We live between Greenway and Thunderbird just off 56th Street.

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  2. That's really spooky - especially for you. I think technology is great but sometimes I hear another conversation when on the phone and hang up,dial again and it's remedied.Your observation about their not going in when no response at the address is really valid.

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  3. Wow, this is thought provoking and scary. I can see why you were alarmed. I hope I never have to call 911.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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