Friday, February 08, 2008

Call 911

I got a call on my business line late last night from someone named Olvie requesting help. She didn’t need a locksmith, just someone to help her get up off the floor. I never got her last name and only part of an address; she sounded a little bewildered and the numbers she gave didn’t match up with the street she said she was on. She kept asking for help and I told her I would do my best.

I called the 911 operator and explained who I was and asked if they could figure out the correct address with the phone number that showed up on my caller ID. I was told that it would be a violation of policy, something about liabilities and getting sued. The 911 operator said a police unit could be dispatched to my house; but as I’d already explained, I wasn’t the one who needed help; I was trying to get help for the woman who’d called my number.

A little while later a police officer knocked on my door and I explained the same thing, gave him an index card which had all the information I’d given to the 911 operator and asked him to investigate further. I watched the officer leave and have no idea if anything was done.

I’m a bit frustrated with a system which can identify a caller’s telephone number so easily; but lacks the intestinal fortitude (how’s that for avoiding a more common phrase?) to follow that lead, figure out the location and knock on a door where an old woman may be in real need of assistance. Maybe there’s a policy in place to prevent officers from breaking down doors based on third party information and setting the Department up for a huge lawsuit; however, what harm could there be to knock and ask?

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