Are you sure?

Ladies and Gents, let me explain something to you. Today is not my first day on the job. I’m not a rookie. I also have wicked good eyesight. So, when I tell you that you didn’t stop at the stop sign that is less than 40′ away from me, rest assured that is the case.

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped an older gentleman for just that. He said, “Are you sure that happened?” I politely said, “Yes, sir. I am sure.” Of course, I wrote him a ticket.
I don’t know what it is I have to do to get you, the motoring public (my bread and butter, if you will) to understand something. I don’t just arbitrarily stop folks on the off chance that they’ll admit to something illegal.
Glance up real quick. That’s right…a little further. See the blog title? Yeah. We’ve had this discussion before.
The point is this: I wouldn’t waste my time stopping you if I wasn’t sure. I’ll wager I let half a dozen legit rags a day go because I doubt what I saw for a millisecond. Did that guy have his seatbelt on or not? Ahhh…I think so…fuck it, not good enough. (That thought actually hurtles through my Kazoo-like melon (Flintstones reference!) at a dizzying rate).
Here’s another similar situation…
We get 911 hangups/abandoned calls every. single. fucking. day. 98% of the time, they’re bullshit. Occasionally, they are not and deserve their own post. In this case, however, they are the aforementioned large mammal excrement. When I show up at your front door and ask you if everything is alright, I understand the confused gaze you shoot my way. However, when I tell you someone dialed 911 from your home, do me a favor. Don’t look at me like I’ve got a third nipple on the tip of my bloody nose, okay? And certainly don’t flat refuse to believe me and insist I’ve the wrong house. Because I don’t.
I didn’t pick your house out of a hat because I want to scope out your latest f’n kitchen remodel. I don’t care how many awards your lame-excuse-for-a-dog shitzu has won. I knocked on your admittedly beautiful front door because someone or something in your house dialed 911.
It is typically one of six reasons:
1. You’re an idiot and don’t know the fucking difference between 911 and 411.
2. Your last name has more consonants than vowels and you were dialing your homeland using an international code that (wait for it) starts with a 9 and a 1.
3. Your last name has more vowels than consonants and see #2.
4. Your fax machine dialed it.
5. You run a sadly understaffed day care and your one of 25 kids just loves loves loves to use the phone.
6. You must dial 9 to get an outside line and you suck at dialing
So, when I rattle off your phone number, don’t be surprised, okay? Again, I didn’t just pop by for a quick hi-howya-doin’? Just be glad I got there as quickly as I did, thank me for my time/effort, and wish me a nice day. There are other jurisdictions much larger and much busier than mine that you could live in where you may have legitimate need of 911 and they may be so understaffed and/or overworked that you may very well be waiting a bit longer than you’d like in an emergency.
To sum up…yes…I am sure.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

13 thoughts on “Are you sure?

  1. I watched a texting driver go right through a stop sign the other day and just about hit a mom with baby in pram. I honked repeatedly out of fear, as did another driver. Scared the living daylights out of me! The offending driver never stopped. I only hope that some one got his license number.
    The 911 thing, been there, done that, accidetally. Didn't even know I did it either, until the cop showed up….sorry.

  2. Someday I'm going to mess up and cause extra work for an officer. I want to say right now- Thanks. It's good to know there's someone out there watching my back.

  3. Ah, the 911 accidents… I feel so sorry for you guys! My beautiful angel of a child *cough* called 911 to say that our dog was eating the house and when she was done she was going to eat him.

    (To be fair, the dog did pull a piece of siding off of the house and my special angel did hear at school that policemen can fix EVERYTHING.)

    My sudden third nipple stare had more to do with figuring out which one of my beautiful angels did it than wondering if the cop who responded was mistaken.

  4. At my current job site, the majority of staff are from the minority group mentioned in #2, and one time, we had a campus-wide email go out from corporate security about the local PD getting seriously pissed off about getting 15 or so misdialed 911 calls PER DAY…

  5. How dare you talk down to us? I got who Kazoo was before you had to dumb it down for the masses. Who do you think we are? Oh yeah, fair enough. Well played, sir. Well played.

    And thank you and the rest of your brothers in blue for putting up with all of us.

  6. To be fair, if you stop us and tell us we're speeding and we agree, we figure there's not much of a chance we'll get out of that ticket. BUT if we say, "Are you sure?" that puts that element of doubt out there and we feel as if we've REALLY done something to get out of that ticket! Course it doesn't work, but hey, it's all we've got:)

  7. The other thing that causes 9-1-1 calls but doesn't often happen from home phones/landlines is "butt dialing". More often than not it's cells/mobiles that dial this way, with the phone in a pocket/purse/whatever with something (usually a very large part of the anatomy) pressing against the "9" or "SOS" key. When we call back and tell them their phone dialed, if we actually get in touch with them (instead of getting voice mail because their phone is still dialing, now on to our partner down the row), easily 60% of them insist we must be mistaken. 20% more just say "Oh, it's this stupid Blackberry", or something similar, with the tone of a person who views it as a mild irritation rather than the transgression it is. 10% more are genuinely horrified and apologetic, and the last 10% say "Oh shut up (friend name), quit playing around."

  8. OMYGOSH! That has happened to me twice, not once, twice. After the 2nd time, I ran out and bought a new phone system. Hasn't happened again. But at 0300 hours when *PD is standing at your front door it's sort of confusing. I'm waking up, opening the front door and I see 3 cops, all of whom I know and I'm really confused, barely awake. I had the presence of mind to invite them in which they declined. But apparently my phone randomly dialed 911. I'd not heard of it before and I couldn't imagine it happening again, but it did. I swears to God that is a true story.

  9. I don't disagree that you almost always see what you think you saw, but, in reality, sometimes you don't. Still, when you didn't get it right, you will still insist you did.
    Example: I am an honorable person and admit when I'm wrong and just pay the ticket. But on at least three occasions, I have had perfectly honest cops stop me and say I committed a violation when I absolutely did not and could prove it. Still got the ticket and beat it. One cop, sitting 50' directly in front of me said he saw me drive along the grass right of way in my F150 at 7AM (dew all over the place) to make a right turn. There were no tire marks in the grass. There was no reason for me to do this. Yet, he wouldn't give up. I don't know why he did this or what he actually saw, but it wasn't me. I'm an attorney and know better than to do that in front of a cop whose main function at the time is to hand out tickets. Still, it was basically my word against his.
    The point his, people (cops) sometimes see things that don't happen. Why, I cannot explain, but it does happen. But, usually you got it right. Just wanted you to know.

  10. Don't forget about the parents who have a deactivated cell phone, give it to their toddler to play with not knowing it can still dial 911. Now I don't have a problem telling them once that the phone can still place a 911 call and they need to remove the battery before giving it to the child. What I do have a problem with is telling them for the 4th time in the same frigging shift that they need to do so!

  11. When I got a new phone, I dialed "911" instead of "411. I felt terrible. I wanted to call the police and tell them I was sorry and made a mistake, but then I would have had to dial "911" to reach them to apologize, and…….

  12. At work we used to have to dial "9" to get an outside line. After dealing with 50+ misdialed 9-1-1 calls a day, work finally switched it to an "8" to dial out. It's been peaceful ever since.

    Even more embarrassing? Our building houses the Police HQ — so basically they were walking down the hall at least 6 times an hour!!

  13. I don't know how I missed this post. But as A Nameless,Faceless Dispatcher, I feel the need to again tell you THANK YOU.

    A lot of the agencies I dispatch for rely on the dispatcher to call back and verify there are no problems. My call IS the response. And so many times a day when I say "We've had a 911 call from this number, is everything okay?", I'll get a response of the "We didn't call 911." And I want to reply that they're right, they won the lottery and I picked them at random out of the phone book. My job isn't busy or anything.

    SO THANK YOU. You serve your dispatchers and community well by posting this stuff.

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