911: NOT as seen on TV.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to call 911? You’ve probably seen the classic television show  Rescue 911 or maybe even the recent movie, The Call. I remember watching the television show where 911 operators stayed on the phone (or at least offered to) with the callers until the cops arrived, to calm them and give them advice regarding the emergency they were currently in. Perhaps these were special circumstances but the portrayal of 911 operators I had been used to hearing about, set me up for disappointed when I had to place that call myself.

Last weekend I was woken up around 3:45am by a very loud noise in the apartment below me. A gunshot. Immediately yelling and screaming ensued. Fearful of what had just happened I grabbed my phone and called 911. An operator answered and went through her normal script, “what’s your emergency, where are you located, cops are on their way.” The exchange was quick and not very personalized but I didn’t give it any thought until my second call. Yes, I called back.

I  won’t go into details but based one what I could hear from the screaming I had reason to believe this gunman might possibly make his way up to my apartment. Soon after I hung up the phone with the operator there was a knock on my back door. I froze. At this moment I was the most scared I have ever been in my life. Shorty after, I then heard another knock, this time coming from the front door. I continued to to shake in fear, but wait, the cops were en route. Of course I wasn’t about to open the door to see. I picked up the phone, dialed 911 again, and the same operator picked up.

“911. What’s your emergency?”

I explained to her why I was calling back, questioning if the police had arrived, as somebody had knocked on my doors.

“I’m not sure if they are there yet,” she stated “did the person who knocked identify themselves as the police?”

“No,” I replied.

“Well, if it was them, they would have identified themselves as the police,” she said in tone that seemed as though it should have been followed up by, “DUH!”

At this point I am beyond scared as I am to believe a gunman is trying to get into my apartment, and I can barely speak over the tremoring of my body. She asks if I can look out a window to see if the cops have arrived, which I could not. She simply told me to stay inside and the conversation ended there.

I was confused. Halle Berry stayed on the phone with that girl for the entire movie! The segments of Rescue 911 ended when the operator hung up, which was when the cops arrived. Here I was left with no advice, nobody to calm me down, shaking as I waited to see the blue and red tinted flash upon the walls of my hallway.

Maybe I am over reacting? Was I expecting too much from this lady? Were my views of how this interaction should have happened skewed by stories portrayed  on televisions for entertainment purposes?

What do you think? Share your comments below.



Note to the reader: The cops arrived and took the man into custody. After speaking with the officer, it turns out there was no gun involved at all. The noise I heard was a window being busted. My brain must have amplified the noise given the state of sleep I was in. I was fin and in no serious danger. My neighbors were fine and unharmed as well. The man arrested had stumbled over from a party where he had too much to drink, possibly drugs as well, and didn’t know where he was, or what he was doing. He was only a threat to himself.


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