Suffered a stupidity attack? Call 911!
Police dispatchers dumbfounded over idiotic ‘emergency’ calls
Updated: 5:08 p.m. ET Aug 8, 2006
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Only a third of 911 calls for help are actual emergencies, according to dispatchers who say some of the calls are simply wacky.
"People have called because they went through the drive-through and their order was wrong," said California Highway Patrol dispatcher Dennis Kirchner. "People call because they're lost."
There are so many ridiculous calls, dispatchers don't recall many of the details. One, for instance, was a report of a tumbleweed across a highway.
"It's hard to remember the standouts because there's so many stupid things we get," Kirchner said.
Terri Minogue, a senior dispatcher at the Santa Cruz Consolidated Emergency Communications Center, remembers a 911 call from a man who said there were two dead bodies in a car.
Minogue had dispatched sheriff's deputies to the Highway 1 location before realizing the call was a sham. The caller went on to describe a vampire with fangs reaching down from the top of the car.
"He sounded so straight-up before he started talking about the vampires," Minogue said.
Still, emergency dispatchers have to treat every call like an emergency.
"When people call in we will document it, unless it's outrageously stupid," Kirchner said.
Outrageously stupid calls include people who have lost their cars at the mall, misplaced their keys, are stuck in traffic and want to know what's wrong or can't get their baby to stop crying. © 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.