Friday, April 15, 2005

Calling 911 shouldn’t be a Joke – or – Don’t do That on Tape

Interesting story out of Texas today making the national news wires along with the 24 hour networks.

Authorities in the lone star state say Mike Forbess who was working as a 911 dispatcher answered a call from a woman who claimed her two 12-year-old daughters were fighting.

She told him she needed help and she feared for their safety. Granted this doesn’t seem like a major 911 call, since sisters fight all of the time. I do fell it often isn’t anything more serious then a simple catfight. Also the caller doesn’t say there are any weapons involved so that would also downgrade the importance of the call. Anyway back to the call.

The woman on the phone tells Forbess: "The 12-year-old is completely out of control, she's as big as I am, I can't control her."

Forbess reply? "OK, Do you want us to come over to shoot her?" After a few seconds of what I can imagine is very awkward silence Forbess told the woman that the comment was a joke. "This is really not very funny," she responded.

She told Forbess that she would call his supervisor.

Authorities said Forbess has received two letters of reprimand.

If you don’t believe me here is a link to a Texas web site:

So what's my point? 911 Operators must know they are being recorded. So why the rude remark? Granted if I was a 911 operator and received hundreds if not thousands of calls a day often for domestics, the occasional bleeding out the rectum, and every once and a while a real call I can see where a worker can get fed up. There are plenty of instances of this in the past so I wonder how many of the joke 911 calls happen and aren’t even reported.

So to balance out this story I figured I would give you an amazing story about what a local Onondaga County dispatcher did. About a year ago dispatcher Greg Hoxie got a call. On the other end of the line there was no voice – but a beeping –according to him “like an alarm clock.” It takes him a few seconds (34 to be exact) until he realizes what the sound is, a smoke detector. He dispatches a full Syracuse fire crew. They arrive to see a two-story house almost engulfed in flames. Through the quick work of the fire crew – they are able to pull a family of four out of the burning home. The home is a total loss – but the family is safe. Their lives were saved due to the quick work of someone behind the scenes.

No moral to these stories and no punch line. Just two people in the same profession – one being a jerk the other saving a families life. What respect do we owe the people in charge of our lives? What respect do they owe us – no one suffered from Forbess’s joke – but still you never know. Just something to think about the next time you call 911.


Anonymous mortgage adjustable rate said...

thought-provoking, mootable pv. just my thoughts, well anyways gl & be chipper is what i say

December 10, 2005 10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, but isn't it a gross abuse of the 911 system to be calling because your 12 year old and 13 1/2 year old are fighting? He should have shot the mom. Meanwhile, someone with a REAL EMERGENCY is getting a busy signal. STUPID PEOPLE!!! You and her!

July 18, 2006 11:54 AM  
Anonymous said...

Too bad this mother is not being a parent. This man should be given a promotion. This was abuse of the 911 system. What should have happened is the woman should knock their heads around or call a neighbor or the husband (who prolly divorced her long ago).

September 04, 2006 12:25 PM  

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