"Was a 911 operator for 5 years. Had a female call, screaming 'He's stabbing me, he's stabbing me!' She's getting away from her husband who's going at her over and over with an ice pick. It becomes evident to me that she's moving around the house in an attempt to get away. I'm telling her 'Can you barricade yourself? Can you get away from him? Can you get out of the house?'
She told me that she's trying and interjects that her husband is blind. Now, I'm really confused. She's not giving me much information (typical with panicky victims in the heat of a crime), and I'm trying to figure out how she can't get away from a blind person.
She gets quiet, and I can hear him saying all kinds of nasty things about her. Cops get there, secure the scene, and they fly her to a trauma center. She lived.
Still, we were all standing around after, so confused that this woman couldn't escape a blind man from stabbing her."
"This is a true story from when I was a journalist. A man called 911 and reports that he had been shot in the head.
'Who shot you?'
'Is he still in the house?'
'Wasn't ever in the house.'
The dispatcher sends cops and medical and gets more questions to ask about health, loss of consciousness, etc. Figured the guy was mistaken. Nope.
There was a hole in the window, blood all over, and a nasty wound on the center of the man's forehead. Went to the hospital where he was stitched up. The bullet never penetrated the skull. Minor concussion, vertebrae damage. Police found pieces of a bullet in the wall behind where he reported standing and it matched the hole in the window. Never found the shooter, determined it was a 38 from a long-range tumbling and hit him at such an angle that it was deflected.
Cops called him hammerhead."
"The first call I took was from a blind, elderly male. He called because he found his son on the floor of his bedroom. The man's son was not responding, so I had the caller tilt his head back and listen to his breath. Nothing. He said he was warm, and he had talked with him less than 20 minutes prior, so I guided him through CPR. He only performed compressions because of the circumstances. He lived in a rural part of our county, and we were low on rigs, so we did this for about 12 minutes before help arrived on the scene.
EMS goes inside and immediately ask for PD. This isn't unusual. Sometimes loved ones can't or don't want to believe that it's too late, so we go through the motions until a trained eye is there. PD gets there and asks for a detective. This is also not unusual for younger deaths. Two hours later and still there, it peaks my curiosity.
I called the first officer that arrived and found out that the poor blind man had been doing CPR on his mostly headless son. He had been taking a nap, and his son committed suicide. It woke him up, but not quick enough for it to register as a shot. When I had asked him to tilt his head back he did so by using his chin, which was still there. I think it worked out for the best because he had support there when he learned the truth, and it didn't make my job any tougher, but it definitely made for an unusual start to my dispatch career."
"It wasn't my call, but one we had to listen to in training to prepare us for what we were getting into. A guy calls 911 to say there is a body in his house. They go through the routine, eventually getting the name of the deceased. That's where things get odd.
When you call 911, a caller ID displays your information so we can confirm it. When the man gave the dispatcher the name of the deceased, it was the same as the caller ID. The dispatcher tells him she needs the deceased man's name, not his, as they'd already confirmed it.
In a normal tone, the man says, 'I'm telling you where to find my body and that this wasn't murder.' The dispatcher spent the next few minutes trying to talk him out of it, doing her best to either convince him not to do it or trying to at least stall him until the team gets there. The entire time, the man remains calm, almost cheery, like he was just shrugging it off. 'Nope, I made up my mind. I'll just be in the bedroom.' The cops didn't get there in time, and the dispatcher heard him say 'Thanks, bye!' Before a shot blast and agonal breathing. Cops arrived a few minutes later.
I think it was just weird how calm he was about it. I've heard of suicidal people having that sort of more upbeat disposition when they finally make a plan to go through it, but actually hearing it struck me as weird."
"1) It's right at shift change, and the incoming rotation is notorious for callouts and trudging in at the top of the hour. I'm standing up, just waiting for enough people to log in so I can leave. 911 is ringing, they have a few available, but not actually answering, so I sigh and pick up.
A male caller says that his roof has collapsed and that he has acid burns, and that it is all over the floor. My agency uses specific questioning protocols for EMS and fire calls, so I launch into the program. We are not allowed to deviate from questioning until we get all the way through, with a few very specific exceptions. The caller is agitated and uncooperative, keeps asking what's taking them so long, as many do. There's often a misconception that no one starts moving until all our questions are answered, which is not the case. His responses to the questions elicit a full hazmat response from the fire department and eventually prompts me to also send the call to EMS and law enforcement. I had already sent the call to LEO early on because of the caller's evasiveness and just a general vibe. Protocol instructions have me tell the caller to leave his house, but he is refusing. He keeps saying the responders have to come to him.
Meanwhile, all three agencies (law enforcement, hazmat, EMS) are all in the area, but they parked down the road because the guy says this place is structurally unsound and there are dangerous chemicals everywhere - they aren't sending their people into that environment to create more victims if they can help it. The sergeant has me connect the caller to his cell phone to try and convince the guy to come out, but the caller is still belligerent, insisting they come to them, and repeatedly hangs up on the officer. Finally, an officer basically says 'screw it' and approaches the guy's house. I'm finally off the phone, 20 minutes after I should have been done, and go home.
When I look at the call the next day, the short of it is that the dude was tripping. The caller was obviously agitated and pacing in front of the home when the officer walked up. When he saw the officer, the caller immediately approached him, trying to remove his clothing to show the officer the non-existent 'acid burns.' The house was intact and had no structural damage. And that's why answering 911 two minutes before you get to leave is the worst.
2) A caller says her crazy roommate is losing it, has a knife, and is screaming and trying to break stuff in the house. The caller is locked in her bedroom with a surprisingly calm attitude, noting that her roommate is nuts and this isn't that unusual. Responders are pretty far out, so I stay on the phone. Suddenly, I hear loud banging, sounds of a verbal tussling. I try to get my caller's attention again while noting what I can overhear in the call notes. Caller gets back on the line and says the roommate had cut up her own arms/hands, busted in my caller's bedroom door, and smeared blood all over the caller. Then the roommate left to room to also call 911 so she could claim my caller had intentionally attacked her.
3) I was still training on phones. The call was already in for a check on the welfare of an older woman who lived with her adult sons. The original caller said she hadn't heard from the mother and the sons were known to be aggressive and even violent. I answer a call from the landline phone at the target address and it's the mother, wondering where officers are because her sons are physically fighting. I remember being confused that she knew they were coming and wasn't the original caller. She wasn't forthcoming with information and gave very short answers to direct questions. When she asked if she could get off the phone, I asked her to just set the phone down with the line open and she obliged. After a bit, I hear the mother and a male voice arguing in the background, and mention of 'blood.' More arguing, then a male voice picks up the phone and says 'I just killed my brother in self-defense.' He was surprisingly compliant and calmly told me what happened, with what weapon, where the weapon was now, his name, date of birth, etc. Still somewhat surprised I wasn't called to court for that one.
4) Not my story, but a coworker - she had a male caller saying he was having suicidal thoughts and wanted to jump into traffic. While my coworker is trying to get more information from him, as responders are on the way, he gets frustrated with her, stating that she's distracting him and keeps making him miss the passing cars.
5) We had almost daily occurrences of callers reporting a man standing naked on the side of the road, mooning passing cars around 5 a.m. near the county line. It was so far away from our deputies' normal downtime spots, and around shift change, so they consistently were unable to locate the man by the time someone got to the area. Dispatch nicknamed him the Brown-eyed Bandit.
6) Female caller very concerned about something suspicious, mentioning a body in large trunk or suitcase and an abandoned house, but was unable to clarify details and kept changing the story when I asked questions in an attempt to get a better idea of what she was talking about. She was getting increasingly agitated as I tried to refocus her attention on statements she already made and asked clarifying questions. Finally, she gets so fed up with me asking questions that she says 'Can I talk to someone else, someone other than you? Is Detective Stabler there?'
I'm fairly new at the time, and we work in a facility separate from the agencies we work with, so I don't know most of the officers by name. I give it serious thought for a second, thinking this may be someone on a different rotation. Then it hits me: 'Are you talking about Detective Stabler from Law and Order?' Internally: Oh, this lady is crazy.
7) I don't remember the context, but I was asking for descriptive information on a caller's girlfriend of about a month. Me: What's her date of birth? Caller: I don't know, but I know she's a Scorpio."
"I used to work as a 911 operator in a relatively large metro area. One night at about 3 a.m. or so, I answered a call from an elderly lady who said she didn't feel good. I tried to get more info about what was wrong - chest pain, trouble breathing, headache, is she diabetic, etc. She gave me her address and phone number and said no one else was home but the front door was unlocked so they could come in. I toned the call out as 'general illness' and kept trying to get more details. No matter what else I asked about what was wrong, all she would say is 'I just don't feel good, can you send someone to help me?'
After a few minutes, she said 'I'm gonna put the phone down for a minute, I need to go to the bathroom.' I tried to get her to stay on the line with me, told her she can do whatever she needs to get ready but I'd like to be able to stay in contact in case there's a problem. She said 'I'm going to put the phone down, I'll just be a minute.' And that was it. I stayed on the line and asked for her every so often but got no reply.
A couple minutes passed, then the fire department called on the scene so I just disconnected and didn't think much about it. Told them the caller advised the front door is unlocked and she was in the bathroom. A couple more minutes and one of the firefighters called over the air with a weird tone and said 'Dispatch. Uh, how exactly was this call received?'
I told them the call was first-party from the patient's home phone approximately eight minutes ago. He didn't respond over the air but called the desk from his cell phone (which usually only happens when something weird is going on that they don't want to be broadcasted since anyone can listen to the radios).
On the phone, he said 'Are you sure this wasn't a third-party call from a family member or something?'
I said 'Negative, caller advised 'I don't feel good' and said no one else was home, so to the best of my knowledge, the caller is the patient. Have you made contact?'
He said 'Yeah, she was in the bathroom like you said, but she's probably been dead for about 12 hours. Cold to the touch, fully livid, full rigor, we're gonna need a deputy out here.'
Afterwards, we pulled the tapes of the radio and phone calls and checked the time stamps, address, phone number, and went over everything a few times to see if I missed something. I called them back in the morning after the shift to see if they had any more information, but they were just as weirded out as we were. The phone was still in the living room and the patient was dead in the bathroom. I answered a 911 call from a dead woman because she didn't feel good."
"The most memorable call I had was when I was still training. It was a few days into starting to take 911 calls on my own with my trainer just listening in, and I get a very calm lady asking for paramedics. I ask her for the address and why.
'My son cut off his member.'
I parroted what I heard back while mentally I was going 'Excuse me, what?'
Lady confirms that her son cut off his willy with a knife and there's blood everywhere. Now the whole room is bustling getting the resources I need for this guy with a knife who is probably bleeding out.
I ask where her son is in the house, where the knife is, etc. When the lady can't really answer my questions is when I know something is up. She has no idea where he is, and she never saw him cut anything off. So I ask how she knew her son did this and she replies 'I have visions and revelations. I can see the knife.' Oh boy!
It becomes a back and forth figuring out who her son is and if anyone's even hurt. Lady even gave a neighbor's address instead of her own. Eventually, we find her 'son's' phone number through associations. The guy is actually just two years younger than her and a roommate. So my supervisor hops on the phone and calls the guy and cuts to the chase:
'Is this so-and-so? Did you cut off your member?'
Spoiler: his junk was still attached to his body. That was almost four years ago and I still bring it up to curious new trainees when they ask.
Otherwise the other few calls I remember:
An addict couple birthing their baby in a bathtub (Child Protective Services got involved quick on that one).
Double homicide. I talked to the teenager that managed to run out of the house after an adult roommate shot and killed her mom and the teen's boyfriend. The teen thankfully wasn't hurt and ran to a neighbor's house. She vividly remembered every detail and was very calm until officers were with her. She was stellar and very mature. I'm very proud of her keeping herself collected after seeing everything happen. I hope her life has turned for the better since then.
Suicide on the phone. My first one. An older guy called in from his house phone and very calmly started telling me his address, name, and date of birth. He proceeded to say to tell his family he couldn't take it anymore and asked us to turn off his front porch light when we arrived. Also gave us next of kin information. I tried talking to him but he didn't even acknowledge me - he had made up his mind. I heard a metallic bang immediately after he gave me the last bit of instructions.
First I thought I heard a metal chair or step stool fall onto tile floor. I kept an open line until officers were with him, confirming a self-inflicted shot wound through the left temple. Guy had a ton of health problems and just couldn't take it anymore. I can vividly remember the raspy and scratchy sounds I heard during the open line, which I believe were gasps, death rattles, and body twitches. He shot himself outside so his family didn't have to deal with clean up. And, of course, we had no other callers reporting shots fired in the area."
"This one requires a little backstory before the actual call. We had a female that called quite often. She moved from our jurisdiction to another location, but because we were better at customer service, she wouldn't call them on 911, she'd call our 7-digit non-emergency line. She called regularly, often for ridiculousness like the time she told me her gay neighbors, who were abominations, were also watching her while she showered. Another instance, she called to let us know elves were at her house and had stolen both her hair and her uterus. Needless to say, not all there. Every time we ask her if she wants someone out there, and she always says no.
Fast forward a while, she's in this other jurisdiction so we can't respond mind you, and tells us that a man was smoking under her mattress. We go through the usual routines for her, and surprisingly she says she wants someone over. We call the local PD and tell them the nature of her call and politely suggest, due to her out-of-the-ordinary request to see someone, that they send someone out. Police arrived to find a homeless man smoking under her bed. He'd pried open a window and snuck in to get out of the weather.
Few crazy/funny/weird calls that are just bizarre:
The lady calls to complain that the power entering her house is now coming from a different direction, due to construction down the road from her to the north, and that it is causing power fluctuations. Being rational, I let it go and go to tell her that it's a power company problem, not 911. She then says it's our problem because every time the power fluctuated, people entered her house. My personal logic was that it must be interfering with her alarm, so I asked how they were gaining entry, to which she responded, 'Through my chest.'
My brain tried to rationalize it, but nothing was coming to me, short of someone tunneling into her home, which was absurd. So, my next question was 'What chest?'
'Through my chest, you know, from right between my lady parts.' She received a prompt response.
Next up was the woman that gave me a general area to check because 'Zombies were surrounding her house' and she wanted us to 'Get out there and do what we do.'
Then there was Jesus, the Morning Star, the Trinity, who needed help because she had lost her throne and wanted help finding it."
"'911 what's your emergency?'
'There's a pig in the road. A big one.'
'Sir, where are you?'
'At the stoplight. It's the biggest dang pig I have ever seen. Get someone here now!' (One stoplight town, the bar is near the intersection)
'How big is the pig?'
'About the size of a Volkswagen?'
'How much have you had to drink?'
'I'm not wasted! It's a giant pig the size of a small car! What is wrong with you people?'
Officers show up to find a full-grown hippo that had escaped from the local wild animal park. Big freakin' pig.
This was at 2:30 a.m. when the bars close."
"My mom was a dispatcher for 20 years. The eeriest call she ever told me about was one that started off with no voice, only breathing. She kept asking yes or no questions, working out a system to guess what was going on. Eventually, he could talk a little bit and said the person who hurt him was still there, so the officers went in guns drawn. He'd said the person was there but hadn't specified that they were dead.
Turns out the guy couldn't talk because his throat was sliced open. Which he had done to himself to make it look like his wife, whom he had just murdered, had attacked him first.
He survived. My mom didn't follow the case too much but enough to know they figured out what actually happened. I imagine he got convicted."
"I used to work for an alarm monitoring company. I get an inbound call in the middle of the night from somewhere in Philadelphia. The guy on the line sounds really out of it. My first thought was it was someone calling in to cancel a false alarm, messed up voice was them waking from sleep, which was not uncommon.
Some alarms start going off in my head; the guy isn't making a whole lot of sense, and it's really hard to get basic information out of him. Eventually, I piece together that he's a gas station worker, and he's been shot. For some reason, he dialed the alarm company instead of 911. We weren't even his alarm company, there was probably an old sticker in the shop somewhere, so I've got no information on this guy. Mind you, we don't have any magical reverse phone lookup system, and our systems are locked down such that we can't access a web browser. I pulled out my phone, managed to look up a gas station with the inbound number in Philly, called 911, and got police and medical out there.
No idea how it ultimately shook out. Stayed on the line keeping the guy conscious and talking until they got there, then disconnected."
"I am not a 911 operator, but my soon to be mother-in-law once received a call that a guy and his roommate were doing an illegal substance and that the caller's friend overdosed. So this absolute genius hooks up a couple wires to the inside of a toaster, turns the toaster on, and attaches the wires to his unconscious friend's balls.
Honestly, not sure if it successfully electrocuted the unconscious guy, but the caller definitely seemed to think it would wake his friend up.
My mother-in-law's response? 'Sir please don't do that again.'"
"My dad called 911 late one night to report hitting a six-foot tall chicken while driving and running off into the ditch. He had just crashed his car and his voice was a bit shaky on the phone, so the operator asked him to repeat himself a couple of times, and then promised to send someone to help. The first cop on the scene got out of his car with a breathalyzer in hand. By the time he got to the back of my dad's car, he was laughing hysterically over his radio telling people that it wasn't a DUI call - my dad actually did hit a six-foot tall chicken.
And that's the story about the night my dad and all the local cops learned about emu farming."
"Some good ones are:
A caller's boyfriend is bleeding in the shower. I tried to get her to say where and how. She beats around the bush and doesn't come right out (we got the paramedic to tell us afterward). She's a nurse and they were fooling around. She tried to catheterize him while he was hard, ended up puncturing something and they couldn't get the bleeding to stop.
A guy went jogging along the beach, came back to find his car gone. While driving him home after taking a report, we drove by it. He forgot where he parked.
I tried to let a guy off who was obviously up to some shady stuff. I tell him and his girlfriend to just go rent a room and rethink their lives. They stole the cop's cell phone (he made a call for them because their phone was dead). Ended up having a ton of illegal substances in his car when he caught up to him later.
A guy got into a fight with a bunch of ducks, started losing, tried jumping a fence, slipped and tore his sack open on the fence. He's a regular with us. I have his name and address memorized, and I know his number well enough to recognize if it I see it. You can't fix stupid.
People saying they locked themselves inside their car.
Getting ripped off by a woman of the night.
Someone stealing their things (by things they meant a safe full of an illegal substance).
A mugger going around and hitting people in the neck with a taser yelling 'surprise mother effer' in a deep voice, then taking their phone/wallets.
Just so many 911 calls with people essentially calling and getting themselves arrested because they were in the wrong and not the person they called on.
There are a couple people in this city that could make a lot of money if they had a camera strapped to them to follow their daily routine."