The calltaker was flawless. After confirming the address with the caller she very matter of factly and actually quite pleasantly said "okay, well what's going on tonight?" The distraught woman said "Everything… I have no support from their dad, so come on over and arrest me." Then the phone went dead.
The calltaker rang back to the complainant. The caller answered "what do you want?" The calltaker said "are your kids okay, have you done anything to them yet?" The caller said "for now but I've had enough. I've had enough." The calltaker said "We're going to send someone to help you." The woman became hysterical and said "no, no, no, I've had enough. I have a knife and I've had enough." And she hung up the phone again.
Officers were already en route lights and sirens to the address.
The calltaker recalled and kept the woman on the phone. The caller was angry and upset and hysterical and kept saying she had not hurt the kids yet but she was going to; she had a knife; she'd had enough. The line went dead again.
The calltaker recalled a third time. The woman answered and was more evasive. Talked about writing a note and being unable to care for the boys financially. In the background the children could be heard babbling like children do.
The calltaker recalled an fourth time. An answering machine answered. The calltaker again left a message asking the woman to pick up the phone.
By that time the officers had arrived.
They kicked in the woman's door and found her poised over one of the children with a knife in her hand close to plunging the knife into the child.
Officers rushed her, secured the knife and secured her. An officer said over the radio that they had the woman in custody but were checking on the children.
That was probably the longest few seconds for the calltaker to wait.
Then the word came: The children were both fine.
The woman had written a "confession note" about killing her children on the back of the restraining order she had been served that day by the children's father.
Some of the responding officers later came up to dispatch (an unusual event in itself) to tell the calltaker and her supervisor that if the calltaker had not kept recalling and keeping the woman on the phone that likely both children would have been killed.
In the space of seven minutes my coworker, a woman whom I admire and whom I am proud to serve alongside, saved two lives.
Sometimes this 911 thing works.