5 Horrifying Tales Of 911 Incompetence

5 Horrifying Tales Of 911 Incompetence

We all laugh when some nutjob calls 911 because McDonald's ran out of McNuggets. But the world is full of crazy people, they all own phones and 911 is the one number they all know. We shouldn't be surprised.

No, the horror stories happen when regular folk in an emergency call 911 and find the craziness happening at the other end of the line. For instance. . .

Nashville Operator Doesn't Give a Shit

People have been known to call 911 for some pretty stupid reasons: keys locked in the car, slow traffic, loud fireworks, knife wielding ex-boyfriends breaking in the house threatening to kill them. Whoa! That last one doesn't seem to fit the description at all! But when Sheila Jones called 911 in Nashville to report that very thing, the response she received was akin to what one might expect if calling an emergency line to report an ingrown toenail.

After her first call went unanswered, Jones called back and got fantastic news. Officers had been dispatched, but another more important call came in, so they answered that first.

What could be more important than a potential stabbing? A traffic stop, of course! A traffic stop that, in the interest of maintaining our faith in humanity, we will assume was of the GTA IV variety, involving multiple gunshots and at least one person that had burst into flames.

But the shenanigans don't stop there. Jones made a third call after more than two freaking hours had passed with no sign of help. After the call ended--but with tape still rolling--we hear the last damned thing you want to hear when you call 911..."I really just don't give a shit what happens to you."


So, What Happened?

Fortunately, Jones's boyfriend never did get around to actually killing her, presumably because even he started feeling sorry for her after the police failed to show. She did eventually get police to respond to her call, but only after contacting the fucking mayor's office.

When a local news affiliate got wind of the story, they investigated and uncovered the not a shit giving 911 operator's antics. He was immediately fired. At least we hope it was immediate, but don't count on it.

Memphis 911 Operator Falls Asleep on the Job

As anyone who has ever worked a customer service gig can attest, the general public is, for the most part, pretty damn boring. Sure, you get calls from the occasional basket case who threatens to end your shit with a chainsaw unless you reverse that $5 late fee, but mostly it's just mundane questions about things you don't care about. You would think this would not be the case for, say, a 911 operator. The constant stream of calls about gunshots, robberies and out of control chimpanzee attacks would be enough to keep anyone on their toes, right?

We use this pic whenever we can.

Apparently, it is not, as evidenced by a Memphis woman's experience when she called 911 to report that someone was tapping on her window:

Things begin with the woman explaining her situation to the 911 operator. The above news report then devolves into what looks like an infomercial for shitty emergency responder service.

If you call today, we'll ignore your plea for help for 15 full seconds, responding only with dead silence!

But we're not stopping there! Act right away, and we won't just double it...

Nope! If you call 911 today, we'll pass right the Hell out for one full minute!

If you listen close, you can actually hear dude snoring on the phone. He eventually wakes up and gets down to business by asking for the woman's address. The address she had already given him before he passed out.

So, What Happened?

After months of badgering by a Memphis reporter, an investigation into the call was finally launched. The operator on duty was suspended for seven days. That oughta show him! His supervisor was suspended for 20 days, because when you fall asleep at your job, it's totally your boss's fault.

As for the caller, she eventually got help, and we quote, "when she called another 911 agency." What? Like who, the A-Team? Spencer for Hire? Seriously, we're asking.

Michigan 911 Operator Does Not Take Kindly to F-Bombs

People react to stress in various ways. Some people overeat, some people get throw-up drunk and some people curse like sailors when their 911 calls aren't answered in a timely manner. Understandable reactions, all of them, but be advised, depending on who answers your distress call, dropping the occasional f-bomb could have unintended consequences. Adrianne Ledesma of Lincoln Park, Michigan learned this lesson the hard way.

We're not quite sure where Lincoln Park is, but as this news story detailing her encounter with an easily offended 911 operator points out, residents there make over 14,000 911 calls each year. Based on those numbers, we're going to take a wild guess and say it's somewhere near Detroit.

Google Maps thinks so too!

In light of that, it's no surprise that when Adrianne Ledesma called 911, it took a few rings before someone was able to answer. After calling once and getting no answer, she hung up and called again. This time, it once again rang several times before anyone answered. Understandably frustrated, Ledesma blurted out "what the fuck?!" as the phone was ringing.

Because 911 calls begin recording before they are even answered, somehow, the operator on the other end heard the foul language. When Ledesma advised that she needed an ambulance and gave her address, the operator got right to the important business at hand: scolding the girl for cursing.

The teen responded to this ill-timed lecture the same way most any of us would.

Having apparently never been subjected to such unseemly behavior in his life, the 20-year veteran of the Lincoln Park Police Department on the other end of the call got things back on a more professional course by hanging up on the caller.

We're not emergency response professionals, but we maybe would have asked what the problem was before disconnecting the call. In case you're curious, the girl's father was on the floor having a seizure.

But the fun didn't stop there. After the teen called back, the officer continued on the moral highroad by asking if she was going to swear again before adding a nice pot-calling-the-kettle-black moment when he called her "a stupid ass."


Again, so taken back at the thought of a frantic teen having the audacity to curse, the officer still didn't ask what she was calling about and disconnected the call. This display of pointless bickering even continued through a third call in which the officer called her "a buffoon." It should go without saying that she was hung up on that time also.

So, What Happened?

There's good news and there is bad news. On the bright side, Officer Friendly finally did put in the call for help, although he was still unable to tell them exactly what they were being dispatched for. In keeping with his FCC like devotion to family friendly emergencies, he made sure to bring up the cursing when putting in the call.

Also, the father lived. As for the bad news, after her trifecta of failed attempts at summoning help for her ailing father, Adrianne Ledesma drove to the police station. Naturally, she was especially irate by this point. Because his douchebag meter goes well past 11, the officer she had been talking to came out and asked if she was the foul-mouthed girl he had been speaking to. When she acknowledged that she was, he immediately arrested her and charged her with "abusing 911," a charge that, according to the news story, doesn't actually exist.

The officer got off with a two-week unpaid suspension and "training." To whomever is in charge of his training, yeah, good luck with that.

Milwaukee 911 Operator Has No Patience for Woman Being Beaten

As anyone who has inadvertently done it before knows, a funny thing happens if you call 911 and just hang up. At the very least, they'll call you back in an effort to find out what the fuck you're up to. If you don't answer that call back, there is an excellent chance you'll have police at your door in a matter of moments. Then, one thing leads to another, and all of the sudden you're spending four hours answering questions about the stable of farm animals and midgets you keep behind your office.

But enough about that until our lawyers are present, we're here to talk about 911 calls, and as shitty emergency response service goes, this call is pretty fucking awful. A Milwaukee woman called 911 to report that her boyfriend was beating her in front of her children. Unfortunately, the deed was going down in real time, leaving the woman a bit preoccupied.

As you can see in the video, upon hearing a frantic, screaming woman on the other end of the phone, the 911 operator attempted to get the woman to speak to him... by threatening to hang up if she didn't stop being beaten and attend to the matter at hand.

We guess we could live with that if the chicanery ended there. But it gets much worse. Remember when we mentioned hanging up on 911 and ending up with police at your door? That may not happen every time, but call 911 with full-fledged spousal abuse going on in the background and 99 times out of 100, someone is coming to find you. It takes some seriously shitty luck (or excellent luck if you're the person handing out the beating) to have your call answered by that one out of 100 911 operator who sees no cause for alarm upon hearing a woman screaming amongst a room full of children.

Pictured: no reason to notify police.

But that's exactly what happened. Rather than just accepting blood curdling screams as an acceptable alternative to a detailed description of the horrors that are afoot, the operator pulled one of the biggest dick moves in the history of dick moves, and told the woman to call back when she was ready to talk.

So, What Happened?

Well, like the picture above shows, the dude just hung up. The story we linked to doesn't give any specifics on what happened to the woman, but we take heart in knowing that, if she lived to complain about it, she at least wasn't killed. No thanks to the 911 operator, of course. As for him, the county sheriff recommended that the operator be fired. And by "fired" hopefully they meant "beaten while the police ignore his cries."

Texas 911 Operator Offers to Shoot Tween

OK, we'll go ahead and say it: When a Texas woman called 911 to report that her 12-year-old daughter was out of control, it may not have been the greatest use of an emergency line. You have to admit though, it is kind of a gray area. What kind of kid are we talking about? In this case, the woman states the kid is the same size as she is. What if the woman calling looks like this?

Nice tits lady!

That makes for one big kid and, at the very least, an incredibly fair fight. When you factor in that the woman was fresh off a long day at work and has probably slowed with age, we may even put our money on the grotesquely oversized tween. Whatever the case may be, the woman clearly felt like she needed some help, so she called for that very thing, help.

What she did not call for was comedy, but that's exactly what she got. After explaining that her 12-year-old was out of control, the 911 operator fired back with, quite possibly, the most ill-advised joke this side of Don Imus.

Yeah, you read the above image correctly. The 911 operator asked if he should send someone over to shoot the kid. If you find that funny, that's because it totally is, provided you aren't the person calling for help. Naturally, the woman didn't board the laugh train with the rest of us.

So, What Happened?

What happened? A lot less than you would expect. The woman filed a complaint, which didn't amount to anything more than the operator receiving two letters of reprimand. We have no info on whether she ever subdued her musclebound tween, unfortunately.

When he's not busy here, Adam fields calls for help at ScenicAnemia.com.

To see why else there's no hope for humanity, check out 7 People Who Never Gave Up (But Absolutely Should Have). Or find out what some of these operators apologies may have sounded like, in The 6 Most Insincere Apologies of All-Time.

And check out Cracked.com's Top Picks because it's the least you can do for a company that will save you whenever you call on us. Also, our number is unlisted.

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