It seems to me that because we frequently hear about incidents involving law enforcement I figured I might as well join the parade of storytellers with an anecdote of my own.
Just to set things straight, we have had very little contact with law enforcement — I have had only one moving traffic violation in about 70 years of driving and that was 40 or so years ago when I was caught in a “speed trap.” We have had a couple of car break-ins to report, but except for that our lives have been distanced from law enforcement — until recently.
Here’s the story.
Not long ago I was getting things ready for us to go to bed — putting our early morning pills on our bedside stands along with glasses of water, turning back the covers, putting on my pajamas, and stuff like that. Well, I somehow got my foot tangled up in the telephone cord of the phone sitting on my bedside stand and pulled the phone off its cradle and onto the floor. This was irritating because of my clumsiness, but of no harm and I replaced the phone on its cradle, proceeded with my bedtime chores, and thought no more about it until the phone rang. A man’s voice wanted to know what our emergency was. At first I thought he was with the Emergency Response System we subscribe to — you know, my Sweetheart for Life has one of those “Help! I’ve fallen and can’t get up” buttons she wears on a cord around her neck.
There have been a couple of instances when she accidentally hit the button and activated the system. Well, that turned out to not be the case. The guy on the phone told me we had called 911 and then hung up and he was following up on that call. I assured him no one had called 911, but how the phone had fallen to the floor, how I had replaced it on its cradle, and maybe those actions had somehow resulted in a 911 call and subsequent hang up. We continued talking for a couple of minutes in which I repeatedly said we had not called 911 and did not have an emergency.
He sounded skeptical as our conversation ended. I figured that was the finish of the incident — until a very few minutes later when the doorbell rang and upon answering it, I saw a police officer standing outside on our front stoop. When I opened the door, he told me he was there because there had been a “911 hang-up” reported from our address. I invited him in and he said that he had been dispatched to follow up on a 911 call that had been made from our phone but when the 911 operator answered, the call was terminated by the caller hanging up. I once again went through the only explanation I could think of about the phone falling to the floor which somehow resulted in the 911 call.
As we were standing there in the entry hallway, my Sweetheart for Life came to see what was going on. I asked if she had somehow called 911, but she told us she hadn’t and had no idea how such a call could have been made. We assured the officer that we were the only persons in the house and that neither of us had made the call in question. Apparently the statements of two elderly people in their pajamas convinced the officer because he said something into his lapel microphone, wished us a nice evening, and left.
I’ve been thinking about that incident and couple of things kinda popped out.
First, apparently the protocols and procedures involving a “911 hang-up” may call for follow up by law enforcement if there is a reasonable expectation that a 911 call for help had been interrupted either by the caller being prevented from completing the call by someone else, or because something bad had happened to the caller causing the disconnect. Yep, the “911 hang up” procedures demonstrate how the law enforcement/911 system folks protect and serve the public. Great job.
Second, the police officer that came to our house was polite, straight forward in manner, and official, not officious or authoritarian, in carrying out his duty. His uniform was immaculate and his bearing and physical appearance presented a picture of what a police officer should look like. We never felt threatened in any way by either his actions or words — in fact, we felt reassured that law enforcement was “on the job” so to speak. Sorry, but I didn’t get his name or shield number.
Well, there you have it — a brief narrative of our encounter with law enforcement that may help as a countermeasure to the negative perception portrayed by so many “anti-cop” groups. It’s a much truer picture of these hard-working, dedicated folks.
At least that’s how it seems to me.
Bill Taylor, a regular contributing columnist and local area resident, may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.