I was recently reminded by a very wise man, my father, to never forget to laugh. I don't remember many of my calls during the last 11 years I have worked as a dispatcher. However, I have dug up a few for you to share! We in the biz, have a distorted sense of what is funny, so I hope you find these stories as funny as I do!
Some of these stories are my own and some have been shared by friends of mine that work with me either as a dispatcher or police officer.
Potato Chip Domestic--
The earliest memory of a call I took is what I lovingly call my potato chip domestic. It was the late hours of the evening when a female called 911. The female was an older lady and was extremely irate! She was ANGRY! She was somewhat uncooperative and kept yelling that she wanted her son removed from her home. I had a hard time getting her to calm down, but finally started getting the information I needed to get her help. It came out that she and her son had been physically fighting because .. are you ready for it? .... He ate last of her potato chips! The way this lady was going off, you would have thought that he had killed someone. I was just dumbfounded. They were physically fighting over a bag of potato chips! I'm still a little speechless!
Several years ago I was working one of our police channels. The city police force was fairly new and had a lot of young, new to the job, officers. There was one officer that always gave me a laugh. Unfortunately, it was usually at his expense. This one young officer was from somewhere back in North Carolina. He had a very strong southern accent that often made it difficult to understand him. One evening as we working away, a call came in for shots fired in the area. There was nothing seen, just heard. This particular city is very close to some mountains and it was not unusual for naughty hunters to go in to the hills to shoot Bambi's dad. In the dispatch environment, we always treat every call as a "good" call until proven otherwise. I sent this particular officer and a couple of others to the general area to see if there were, in fact, a problem.
As Officer North Carolina came in to the area, he exited his vehicle to see if he could hear anything.Now remember, this officer had a very strong southern accent and what he said next has stuck with me for years!
"Diiispatch, I smell GUuuUUNSmOoke!"
Now, imagine that with the long drawn out twang and you will understand why it was so funny!
As I was on my way into work one day, I noticed someone dressed up in a Chik-Fil-A costume standing on the corner of a busy intersection waving at passing motorists. A new restaurant had just opened nearby and they were doing a little advertising. I didn't think much of it as I made my way to our dispatch center. About an hour later, I received an assault in progress that happened to be in the same location. The call taker was sitting near me and told me to "enjoy that one!". I pulled up the details in the call and started the responding units. Here's the basics of the call...
5P??, 5P?? copy a simple assault just occurred
????? S Bangerter ... A (unkey), A (unkey and trying desperately not to laugh over the air) .. You are responding on someone dressed up in a gorilla costume beating up the Chik-Fil-A Cow.
*** silence ****
*** obviously laughing **** 5P??, 5P?? copy
I found out later that the entire PD was laughing hysterically. The chief had to listen to it and requested the tape to play in training later that week. One call that I will never forget!
Often times in our line of work, we focus only on the negative, Today I would like to pass on the wonderful advice my father recently gave me. "Never forget to laugh. It makes the day brighter. It makes the love you find warmer, and the road often travelled have less bumps!"