I had a call that started out pretty dumb, but was actually pretty serious:
“911, where is you emergency?”
“123 Main St.”
“Ok, what’s going on there?”
“I’d like to order a pizza for delivery.” (oh great, another prank call).
“Ma’am, you’ve reached 911…”
“Yeah, I know. Can I have a large with half pepperoni, half mushroom and peppers?”
“Ummm…. I’m sorry, you know you’ve called 911 right?”
“Yeah, do you know how long it will be?”
“Ok, Ma’am, is everything ok over there? do you have an emergency?”
“Yes, I do.”
“..And you can’t talk about it because there’s someone in the room with you?” (moment of realization)
“Yes, that’s correct. Do you know how long it will be?”
“I have an officer about a mile from your location. Are there any weapons in your house?”
“Can you stay on the phone with me?”
“Nope. See you soon, thanks.”
As we dispatch the call, I check the history at the address, and see there are multiple previous domestic violence calls. The officer arrives and finds a couple, female was kind of banged up, and boyfriend was drunk. Officer arrests him after she explains that the boyfriend had been beating her for a while. I thought she was pretty clever to use that trick. Definitely one of the most memorable calls.
I wasn’t a 911 operator, but a supervisor for AT&T’s ’00 Info’ directory information (think 411). While remotely listening in on some agents one evening one particular call was escalated to tier 2 for assistance. On the other end of the line was a woman who was hysterical saying her husband was trying to kill her.
Protocol dictates that we trace the number to the local LEC (local exchange carrier) and notify law enforcement in the area. We do this but we had no way to connect the call to the local sheriff dispatch (silly I know, but we technically weren’t true operators and our equipment didn’t support that functionality). Basically we had to act as a relay between the LEO and the victim on the phone.
By this time I had moved from my office to seat myself next to the tier 2 agent to help her keep her cool while everything was going down. The agent, let’s call her April (because that’s her name) was handling the call very well at first but started to lose her shit as the call progressed.
While listening in on the call next to April and trying to convey what is going on to the LEO on the other line, we hear the woman who initially called in say:
Her: He went to get an axe!
Us: Ma’am, where are you now?
Her: I’m locked in the bathroom, please hurry!
Us: The sheriff’s office is on their way, they say they are five minutes out.
Then we hear loud banging on the door. Her husband was trying to chop his way through the door with the axe. April lost it when she heard the woman start screaming knowing her husband was coming after her with an axe. She threw her headset off and walked away saying something like ‘I can’t do it! I can’t!’ April heads off to the ladies room to collect herself.
So I pick up the headset to reassure the lady on the phone.
Me: Ma’am, the sheriff is at your house now. Where is your husband.
Her: Back bathroom, he is at the door!
More loud banging from the axe. By this time the woman was overly hysterical and crying madly.
Then: “Sheriffs department, drop the axe!”
“SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT, DROP THE DAMN AXE!”
Pop pop, pop pop
The local LEO dispatch directed me to ask the lady open the bathroom door and she does. The next voice I heard on her phone was a Sheriff Deputy. All he said was this: “The situation is under control, operator. Disengage the call.”
I still get chills and all teary thinking about it.
First ever 911 I answered was about a naked man sitting in a bathtub on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. He was drunk and we still don’t know where he got the tub.
From the late 90s. Old man calls saying his wife is dead. Presumed to be natural, ask how he knows she’s dead.
“Cause I stabbed her.”
“Why did you stab her?”
“I couldn’t take it anymore.”
Gave childbirth instructions to a deaf father via relay for his deaf wife. They were the victims of a home invasion and were tied to chairs. Burglars saw her in labor, panicked, then left. Took dad hours to free himself and call.
While giving the instructions I obtained a suspect description to put out to surrounding agencies. They were caught in the city to our north during the call.
Baby boy was born perfectly healthy.
I worked in a call centre a few years ago, not for 911 but for general purchases for car parts. Anyway some guy phones me asking for a car part, find the part number and place the order as I would normally do. I then hear him sigh and begin to cry, naturally I ask if everything is ok and his response is “You don’t want to listen to my problems mate.” Me being a kind guy who wanted to get rid of some of his shift I said “Sure, what’s up?” and ended up having so many feels.
Turns out his wife had motor neuron disease and had very recently passed away and he was fixing up her car to sell it on. He said it got to the stage where she couldn’t walk, then couldn’t speak, couldn’t do basic tasks such as dress herself/ shower etc. Eventually she didn’t even recognise his face and the disease ultimately took her.
He then tells me about how he has to move house as he can’t stand to be in the property without his wife any more and that he had £80,000 worth of pills in a drawer that he had nothing to do with. He said he will probably donate them to charity.
Anyway after about a 50 minute conversion with him he was so glad that he asked for the company address. Now I was new on the job so didn’t realise the dangers of disclosing this information but I gave it to him and that Christmas I received a card from him saying thanks for taking the time to listen to him and that it really helped him get through a tough time just speaking to someone about it.
So yeah, he was such a nice guy and I will remember him for the rest of my days because he really made an impact on me with his story.