Saturday, August 19, 2006

When Things Are Not Funny

The night before last a distraught woman called 911 saying she wanted to kill her 1 and 2 year old boys.

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.

27 comments:

Kentucky Girl said...

Chilling.

janelovestarzan said...

Actually, she probably saved 3 lives. Inspiring story.

Ada said...

Wow. Absolutely amazing.

Anonymous said...

You dispatchers are the best. What a display of intelligence and understanding and courage on the part of the 911 operator. It actually brought tears to my eyes to read the happy outcome. I hope the mother gets help.

Charred said...

Holy Crap! Well done!

Paul said...

Well done to the calltaker.

otilius said...

Drama in Real Life...thanks!

Canadian Mom said...

Amazing, thank god the operator handled it the way she did.

Erin said...

I don't know how the dispatchers do this on a daily basis, but what a wonderful job she did! Its amazing how one person can change someones life forever. Hooray for her!!

Still Searching... said...

Wow. This post gave me goosebumps. Kudos to the calltaker.

PJ said...

Great story...great ending. I was discussing this sort of thing with our director yesterday. So often police and fire personnel, as well as the public and the county big wigs, get angry and hung up on minor procedural matters that dispatch may make mistakes on, but never see the big picture. Stories like this should get front page coverage and never do. Even if they get coverage, 99.9% of the time the dispatcher is never mentioned. THAT's what's so frustrating about this job.

ANO said...

It's great to hear about someone doing an awesome job like this 911 call when it seems like all you hear about are the operators who mess up and what not.

Anonymous said...

Um, yeah, not to let the winds outta anyone's sails here, but this is a totally fake and bullshit story!

And this is preciesely WHY it's not made ANY news reports ANYWHERE across the counrty!

This is simply "link bait" for owner of the Panic Blog. Shit dude, could you be any more lame?!?

Anonymous said...

I'm not a blogger, but I do work with Eric and the person that took this call. Not only can I verify that this incident occurred, I talked to the officer that kicked the door of the residence in and tackled the very distraught female while the knife was poised over baby. The reason you won't see this in the Anchorage Daily News or hear about what a great job Anchorage Police Officers and Dispatchers did?? The mental issues, restraining orders, as well as several other factors. As far as sir whathisbutt and the stupid anonymous no nothing are concerned feel free to contact the Public Affairs section of APD, they can verify it, but there will be no press release on it. Had there been a negative conclusion, you bet the news would have been all over it like white on rice. I speak from experience. Don't believe me? Google my name: Jeri Wallin
Eric, excellent job as usual. A*****, I told you in person what a fantastic job you did, but I'll say it again; YOU ROCK!

TEN33GIRL said...

The missed holidays. The school events and anniversaries.. all the things we sacrafice to do what we do.. and then something like this happens and you know what you do for a living makes a difference. Great post.

ANO said...

I love when a story is good and shows the good in people, it just has to be fake! I mean, why would anyone actually do their job right?! lol

Eric said...

Thanks for the 34 Jerbear!

And yes again, A***** did a great job. I think it was her conversational tone from the very beginning which was beautiful and difficult if not impossible to train someone to do.

Fingers flying on the keyboard, brain buzzing, but voice very calm and friendly "what's goin' on today?"

I almost wish I could post the actual recording but that would be all sorts of wrong. Plus I happen to like my job and dont want to have to find another.

Oh and I welcome skepticism. No reason to believe me, just some guy. A lot of what's on a lot of blogs is crap.

This, however, isn't one of those blogs or one of those stories. It's all true little buckaroo.

Lady P.O. NY said...

I am a Probation Officer who works with domestic violence victims, people with custody issues, support problems and so on in a Northeastern State.... not for ONE SINGLE SECOND did I doubt ANY of this story. Anyone who wishes to believe that this sort of thing does NOT happen is welcome to continue residing in their fantasy-land..... SUPER-KUDOS to the 911 calltaker- I hope she gets an award or certificate of merit or something concrete for that save.

KaraMia said...

It takes a special kind of person to do that job.

Anonymous said...

I am a co-worker with the parties inovolved in this blog. Everything here is true. Everytime I here the details, of this incident, I get emotional and get the chills. I am very proud and honored to work with the dispatcher who kept the mom on the phone. I understand the skepticism and it's unfortunate that "fakes" exist. Thank you Eric for blogging this topic. I also hope everyone invovled get proper recognition.

Aaron Cook said...

Eric, wow very positive and interesting story!

If you don't mind, could you please delete the comment made by "sir aaron cook" as this asswipe apparetnly thinks it's funny to post rude and discourteous comments pretending to be someone else! Thank goodness for Sitemeter stats or I might not have ever come across this blog to notice it.

And to the impersonating f-tard: Here's what Aaron Cook comments really look like. Notice my Blogger pic? Yeah, that's because I'm the real owner of the Home Business Today blog, jerk!

Anyway, thanks in advance for removing said misrepresentation. And keep up the good work here. I find The Panic Blog to be quite unique and interesting!

Rock on,
Aaron

Stacie said...

What a wonderful ending to what could have been a horrible tragedy. You dispatchers have saved my ass on more occasions than I care to remember. Keep on doing the great job, I love you guys!

Bill German said...

I wish Andrea Yates had made a call like that.

Wadical said...

Hey, "anonymous" - 11:30", You're an asshole! An ignorant one at that. One who's spoonfed reality by the media. If the media didn't report it, it didn't happen...and it must've happend just like the media reported...right? What a maroon! You have no idea the sheer volume of spectacular shit we deal with every day that doesn't make the news!

Like "anonymous" - 2:06 said...if the kids had died or the dispatcher had just let it go as dispatched, the media would've been beating down the doors and eyeballing this dispatcher with a microscope to see if she "screwed up." Well, screw the media, and screw you! Dispatchers don't do this work for media recognition anyway. Nothing means as much as the respect and admiration of one's peers.....So from this dispatcher to that one....atta girl! Well done!

Eric....great post, man.

PJ said...

Gee Wadical, I wish you'd get over that shyness you have and say what you mean! (Heavy tongue in cheek here) Seriously, both you guys (Wadical & Eric) are my hero bloggers, and A***** can come to work for me any time. And Anonymous 11:30 go creep out somene else, creep.

Lindsey said...

wow....that story gave me chills, and I so want to know who took the call now lol.
Good job on her part, glad it ended the way it did....Wow I miss all the excitement in there. I sooooo want to come back!!!

mo mommy said...

I think this story shows the resolve and emotional wherewithall that dispatchers have, something I will never have and highly admire them for. I was overjoyed to hear the happy outcome.
And as "impartial" as the ADN is, I'm not surprised if it wasn't in there.....