Friday night at 9-1-1

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9 1/2 hours on channel two Friday night. A full Moon. In August. At one point, 25 units on my channel. All it takes is one to decide to do a traffic stop, then suddenly ALL of them want to do traffic stops! Fights. Parties. Loud music. More fights. No barking dogs, oddly. Reckless drivers. Drunk drivers. A couple of wrecks. Several ambulance runs, one a 15 day old difficulty breathing, one 84 year old difficulty breathing. Shots heard. Child exchanges. Child exchanges that didn’t happen, and the other parent is pissed. Welfare checks because somebody on Facebook was fishing for attention and “seemed” suicidal. Abandoned cars. People pulled over on the side of the road and being “suspicious”…. as they talked on their cell phones for 20 minutes. Drunks staggering down the shoulder of the road. More loud music calls. Crappy radios… “it’s the heat” “it’s the cold” “it’s the fog” “it’s the rain” < reasons for crappy radio transmissions. Units chomping at the bits to join the CHP’s pursuit before it runs out of the county. It ran out of the county. Bar brawl, ambulance needed. Second ambulance needed. Laceration and “asthma” (panic) attack. Juvenile calling in and harassing the dispatchers. Vulgar. Threatening. Dozens of times. Not bright, we know who he is. Cookies in dispatch. Didn’t last long. Air unit doing patrol checks. Three at a time. Put him on one, take him off. Update city unit that keyed up immediately after. Put air unit on second patrol check, take him off. Respond to deputy doing a traffic stop. Put air unit on last check, take him off. Answer the 9-1-1 line, because everybody else in the room is already on a phone. Lucky, just a quick transfer to CHP, off the phone quick. More loud music. How come we never do anything about it?? I’ve called a bunch of times! No, I don’t want contact, just make them stop! Direct the young lady who has decided at 6:30 pm on a Friday that she’d like information on becoming a police officer to call back Monday during business hours to talk to somebody about it. Another party! I have to get up at 4am! Racing vehicles… give it to CHP. Send a deputy to assist CHP, because the car they stopped has a fight between a man and woman in progress. Burglar alarms sounding, owners will only respond if it’s an actual burglary. I just got home, and I was robbed! The tweeker is not sure what’s missing, but they’re sure something was taken. It’s Friday night, the teenager has been missing since Wednesday morning, but we better go ahead and report it now.
Man, I love my job!

They finally made a movie about a dispatcher. This could be bad.

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So I’ve seen the promos at the theater.  A lot of the background looks realistic, the situation has happened before.  What I’m not to sure about is the idea that she gets involved in a call.  “This one made it personal”.  I’m hoping for the best.  It is Hollywood, so there’s no telling what will happen.  Just remember, it’s only a movie!  (unless it’s really, really good.  Then it’s exactly like our center, and we’re all heroes like Halle Berry.)

Want the picture with YOUR jurisdiction in the map background? Here.

9-1-1 101

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The 4-1-1 on 9-1-1

9-1-1 is intended to be used for emergencies.  Barking dogs, loud music, and other routine calls should be placed on the seven digit number to your local law enforcement agency.  Find those numbers, and put them in your speed dials and memory slots, and they’ll be available when you want them.

If you need an ambulance, or a fire truck, or see a crime in progress, THAT’s when you dial 9-1-1.  If you’re in doubt, err on the side of caution, and dial 9-1-1.  There is no charge, and you won’t get in trouble if you don’t really have an emergency but called anyway.

Here’s a little known fact about 9-1-1:  it’s not one big room, with everybody’s 9-1-1 line going there.  We can’t stand up and yell “Hey!  Boston!  Line 2!” (thanks, Linda – I love that image!)  Another little known fact:  in all but the biggest cities, the same people who answer the seven digit numbers answer the 9-1-1 lines.  The thing is, 9-1-1 lines have priority.  And they are limited in number.  If you’re calling in on one for something that is NOT an emergency, you are tying up a line that someone else may need.  You’re also tying up an operator who may be delayed answering the next 9-1-1 line for a real emergency.

When you call 9-1-1 about, say, a traffic accident, and it’s taking forever for someone to answer, it’s most likely due to everyone else around you also calling on their phones, and we’re working our way through multiple reports about the same incident.  Don’t hang up and dial again, that just puts you at the end of the line.  The phones are all computers now, and they line up the calls in the order they are received.

When you dial 9-1-1 from your cell phone, here’s the most important thing you need to know:


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