"I was en route to a domestic argument between husband and wife called in by a neighbor. Screams, swearing, hitting, etc...
I arrived to see a dude, in his boxers, by himself, watching Game of Thrones on his surround sound."
"I responded to an assault in progress in an alley - caller said she heard grunting and what sounded like a woman yelling for help. Dispatch alert toned the call and I went all out to get there as fast as possible.
When I pulled into the alley, my brakes were smoking and I was ready to kick some butt. I jumped out of the car and ran to the sounds, which were still intense and close by. I rounded the corner to find two raccoons straight up duking it out. I'm talking squared-off, throwing punches, etc. It sounded terrible but it was awesome to watch."
"Today I responded to a woman 'locked out' of her vehicle. It took me quite some time to get across town, find her in the giant mall parking lot, etc. The woman was crying hysterically when I got there about how scared she was about, 'never being able to drive her car again.' I calm her down, took a look at the car, and opened the passenger door. Just...opened it. She only locked the driver door on accident and didn't try any of the other doors to open the car."
"The officer I was with got called to deal with a family issue involving a minor and some healthcare-type stuff, so I stayed in the car listening to the radio. With things like that, sometimes it was better I gave the family some privacy. There were three other officers on that day. One was being trained by the field training officer, so they rode together. The other had his own car. Anyway, I was sitting, listening to music, when a call went out. (If any of you recognize this, I forgot numbers/exactly what was said). The call was along the lines of, '323, [City Dispatch], can you head to [Address]? Caller is advising there is a brown goo in his alley.'
Me: '[Dispatch], 323. Brown goo?'
Dispatch: '10-4; he says it smells bad.'
Me: 'Uhh, alright.'
I'm still in the car waiting for my officer to get back, because I want to go see what this mystery goo is.
More voices on the radio:
Voice 1: '[Dispatch], 323. I'm 10-23 (on the scene). There's definitely brown goo. It definitely smells bad.'
And more voices:
Voice 2: '[Dispatch], 316 and 324 are going to be out at [Address] investigating that goo as well.'
The FTO had brought his trainee along. My officer hurried back to the car and we decided we also needed to investigate this goo. We got to the address and pulled into the alleyway. Now the entire city's police force was sitting in this tiny alleyway, talking to the homeowner/caller. In the grass between the gravel of the alleyway and the back of the caller's garage was this foamy brown goo. It was baking in the summer sun and smelled like a combination of roadkill and a ham and cheese sandwich that had been left sitting in a hot car for about a week. We all stood around making jokes for a while before a sheriff's deputy joined the fun. I poked the goo with a stick, which didn't do much more than release more bad smells. The caller had a rake, which only spread the goo around further.
The FTO got this dumb smile on his face and said, 'You know...this seems more like a fire department issue.' He got on his radio: '[Dispatch], can you start Fire to our location? For the goo?'
A few seconds later, we heard a fire page (series of tones unique to each department in the county) go out over the radio and we all started laughing. In about three minutes, two firefighters showed up in basically a big Ford-F350 with some rescue gear on it. They got out, demanded to know why we called them, and then also start poking at the goo. They started to smile.
'You know,' one of them said, 'we don't have any water on this truck...'
The other firefighter started laughing and the first picked up his radio, 'Start an engine to [address].' They backed their truck out of the alley. Finally, the engine showed up with four firefighters on board and the lights flashing. The driver actually pulled this giant truck into the narrow alley and drove up to where we were gathered around the goo. They got out and walked up to us.
'Why are we here?' The FTO pointed to the goo as the first two firefighters laughed. 'What is it?' asked the recent arrivals.
'We dunno,' the FTO answered.
'WOW, it smells bad.'
'Yes. Yes, it does.'
The firefighters sat for a moment in silence. 'We could...hose it down maybe?' We told them that they 100% should hose down this goo. The homeowner/caller agreed. The firefighters unload a hose and attach it to the front of the engine. They told us to stand back, then blast the ever-loving crap out of this rancid mystery goo. They send goo and gravel alike flying into this poor man's yard, coating his garage with it. Now everyone but the firefighter manning the hose was laughing, even the homeowner. As the firefighters packed up their hose, we decided there was no more protecting and/or serving to do, so we headed back for our cars.
As we were leaving, one of the officers turned to the homeowner and said 'Remember, this is the fire department's fault,' and everyone laughed again.
This all took maybe 25 minutes at most. Such are the joys of small-town policing."
"I was dispatched to a burglary in progress. A lady called and said she was locked inside her bedroom and people were rummaging through the living room of her apartment. She was hysterical and begging for us to rescue her. I mean, she was beyond frantic. So, my partner and I raced there as fast as possible with lights and sirens blazing, hoping to get there before she is brutally murdered.
We got there, surrounded the apartment, and I was about to kick the door in. Then the door opened and the lady was standing there with the most embarrassed look on her face, hair a mess, disheveled pajamas. She forgot that she decided it was hot and had opened her balcony door which created the desired breeze she wanted and blew some papers off her coffee table in the meantime. That was it. The wind."
"I'm a dispatcher, not a cop, but I once had to send an officer out to a lady's house because she had left town that morning and suddenly couldn't remember if she'd closed her refrigerator door before she left. The call came in at like 1 am and she wanted us to send someone out to look in her windows to see if the fridge was closed (and possibly break in to close it if it was open, to which we said no freaking way).
An officer was sent. The fridge was, in fact, closed."
"I am a law enforcement officer who works in a hospital.
There I was, doing my end of shift checks on my patrol vehicle before heading inside. Dispatch came on the radio: '3-1, dispatch. There's a fight in progress in the ER.'
I stopped and my heart skipped a beat. I'd been working maybe a month. Fights never happened in the hospital. 'Dispatch, 3-1, say again. Did you say a fight in the ER?'
Dispatch: 'That's affirmative, 3-1, fight in the ER.'
And I was off, shoving open the automatic door and tearing across the hospital at full speed, running over every scenario in my head and how I'd respond to it. Should I pull out my taser? Get my ASP ready?
For reference, where I had parked my vehicle and the ER were on opposite ends of the hospital, so I had to literally sprint down this hallway. Doctors and nurses were jumping out of my way, I was shouting at the ones who didn't because somebody's getting beat up.
I threw open the ER doors, made it there in less than 30 seconds, adrenaline pumping, ready to rock.
Dead silence. Not a peep. I did a quick scan and saw all of the ER staff around one bed. And in that bed? An angry 78-year-old man who wanted to walk.
Spoiler alert, all I did was give him a stern talking to as the doctors put him in medical restraints."
"Oh boy. I'm not a cop anymore due to medical reasons but it's hard answering this question with only one story.
We went out to this house on a domestic because a woman and her husband were getting into it and arguing. They said they weren't physically fighting but when I got there I thought differently because of the amount of stuff thrown all over the place. The male had some bleeding above his eye.
So I was talking to them and, of course, they were giving me conflicting stories like they always freakin' do, and the woman said something along the lines of, 'I just had it. I freaking snapped and threw the stupid fan at his face!'
Now, this was one of those big fans with maybe like a four feet pole as a stand, used usually for an entire room. She said that when they were arguing, she went into the living room to get away from her husband, sit down, and cool off. But the dude came over with the fan, positioned it next to her face, turned it on, and proceeded to fart into the fan. So she flipped. I looked at the dude and he was just kind of standing there, giving me that face of guilt like he's acknowledging the fact that I'm judging him but he's too embarrassed to vocally admit he did in fact fart into the fan to tick off his wife.
Firstly, they were both in the late 30's. Secondly, she just admitted to assaulting her husband so unfortunately she's gotta go to jail. I wouldn't say that the call itself was a waste of time, it was a genuine domestic with an offense we could charge. But the circumstances that led up to it were freaking stupid.
So next time it takes them forever to get to your house for your theft report or whatever, remember that people like them exist and keep us busy."
"Police Dispatcher here: and I would have to answer this with a simple 2/3 of the calls that come in are a waste of time, but we have to entertain them.
I have two that come to mind:
The first was an older lady calling because, during the winter, her neighbor's snow plow driver was pushing the snow onto her lawn and she didn't want the extra snow on her grass.
The second, and this happens kinda frequently, is for the black person walking down the street. Apparently, this African-American person shouldn't be here because they live in an 'upscale area and don't see these kinds of people around here.'
And this is on top of all the domestics that are basically calling for a cop to come babysit them and 'make it right.'"
"I went to a 'parking dispute.' Turns out the manager of the restaurant wanted the employees to park in the back, employees said they weren't parking back there because it's poorly lit. So apparently they needed a cop there? I told the manager that if her employees didn't listen to fire them. I went over to the employees and told them if they really wanted to park out front, then quit their jobs. Then they could park out there all day if they wanted to."
"I'm a dispatcher.
We had a state of emergency snowstorm. My town got hit bad. Lots of fallen trees, downed wires, etc. We had a ton of people trapped in their vehicles on the roadways, a heart attack the ambulance couldn't get to due to the snow, etc.
So around 2 am, I got a phone call (on the 911 line) from a student at the (private, expensive) college in town. 'Um, yeah there's a theft in progress at (expensive school) school.'
I started dispatching officers and getting more info. The caller then related that the 'theft' was because GrubHub canceled his order due to the storm. And they refunded his money but it was going to take 1-3 days to appear in his account."
"We had a particular nursing home in town whose administration decided the law required (it doesn't) a police report for every incident that occurred in the facility they deemed noteworthy, irrespective of whether it even remotely merited a criminal investigation.
As a customer service-oriented agency, we obliged their every ridiculous, baseless request. Every slip and fall, every unexplained minor injury, every 'the aide was mean to me,' every 'my roommate looked at me weird,' every 'resident can't find her underwear,' got an official police report.
None of these were ever followed up on. No other long-term care facility in town did this. We explained the law, suggested they record their own in-house reports ... nope, must be an official police report. Eventually, we just took them by phone rather than tie up a patrol car."
"My friend is a cop. He responded to breaking and entering call to find a lady with several mental disorders (she was a schizo undergoing treatment). She claimed a magical wall-traveling wizard was attacking her. Officer did not find any wizard and consulted the internet for what to do. He 'chased' the wizard out of her apartment, and he advised she put salt on her doors and not attempt to get a PPO against the wizard (as the judge would have her institutionalized). He did this as he knew the lady and for the most part, she was always pretty good about her medications and doctor visits.
On a return call, he saw salt on the doors as well as wind chimes on the windows. My friend believes she actually saw a wizard and was scared.
I don't know how much of a waste of time it was but it sure makes a funny story."
"I once got a call that someone was pouring hazardous waste into a stormwater drain. The witness had an address and description of the alleged offender.
I go to the address, made contact, and started interviewing the suspect. They had no idea what the heck I was talking about. I got to the point and they were still baffled. Then they produced a receipt from Target for one large cherry slushy. The slushy had melted and they poured the red liquid down the stormwater drain. I thanked them and promptly left. The dispatchers were laughing hysterically when I went back in service"
David P. Smith/Shutterstock
"Not a cop, but a former 911 dispatcher. You'd be surprised how often calls are a total waste of time:
-Some soccer mom called to report a 'dangerous driver' because someone reached for the volume knob and crossed the line for half a second, but she had no idea what kind of car it was, or what their tag was, or where they were now. She just knew that, 'I dunno, I saw him a while back.' Great, thanks, that's helpful. So it's a red truck in a rural southern county, I'm sure we'll have no trouble tracking down this menace.
-A paranoid old woman reported a 'suspicious person walking around her house,' except that 'suspicious' actually just meant 'black' and he wasn't around her house, he was walking by on the sidewalk.
-A guy called, freaking out and insisting he's having a heart attack...except it's a 22-year-old white male with no pre-existing medical conditions. The first time it's like a House-level medical mystery until you tell the medics about it and they're like, 'Probably just another tweaker,' and it all makes sense. And that's what it always is.
-Really ticked-off sounding person called to report that [person] at [address] was selling substances but they refuse to give you their own name or address. It always turns out they're trying to get revenge because their dealer ripped them off.
I'd guess about 70% of the calls I got fell into one of these categories or another similar one that still doesn't require emergency services.
Then there's the ~5% that massively underestimate what's going on. Like the guy who said, 'His arm's broke, it's broke real bad.'
EMS got out there and I heard, 'Uh, Central, his arm ain't broke. It's on the road.' Turns out he had his arm out the window and got sideswiped by another truck, it got pinned between the two and was twisted off at the shoulder.
Or the guy who said he'd 'been drinking a little and working in the yard and dropped my chainsaw on my foot, cut it up pretty good.' What he didn't tell us was that it was running when he dropped it and it wasn't his foot, it was his calf. And it cut to the bone before he managed to grab it."
"I'm not a cop, but had my old neighbor call the cops on me for cutting my grass shorter than his so his house looked 'trashy' in comparison, plus I refused to adjust my lawnmower because I didn't want to cut my grass twice as often. The cops showed up and talked him, then came over and knocked on my door. They prefaced it all by saying, 'Your neighbor is an absolute idiot, but we have to talk to everyone involved.' Then me and the cops joked on my porch for 10 minutes about random stuff while my neighbor watched, fuming. He was then given a verbal trespass warning and told to not come to my door anymore. The rest of the neighborhood heard of the cops ordering him to leave me alone and anytime he went on his weekly crusade to tell people what's wrong with their yard in comparison to his, they called and had him given trespass warnings so the next call would be criminal/arrest. He moved after he found out he couldn't be the self-appointed lawn cop of the place. No, we didn't live in an HOA."