Because “Protect” and “Serve” are up to interpretation

For the purposes of the following, Phoenix Police = PP (for their piss poor situation management), and DC Police = DP (because here, they’ll screw you both ways).

At about 8am EST, I recieved the phone call from my mother regarding the lack of known whereabouts of my grandmother. What follows is a piecing-together of the events that transpired between the time I learned there was a problem, and the time that I heard she was in the hospital:

- Mother asks family friend to go to Grandmother’s with key to her apartment. Friend leaves in cab bound for the city.

- Mother calls 911 on cell phone from Phoenix, AZ., gets PP, who cannot connect her to DP to report the problem – for some reason.

- She calls 202-555-1212, and gets the non-emergency number to a DP precinct. DP says they cannot send officers there and that PP must send a “tele-type” (?) to DP before officers can be dispatched.

- Bewildered, she calls PP again to get them to send the tele-type. Incredulous as to why DP won’t send officers, PP sends the tele-type as asked. Mother awaits word from DP that tele-type has been recieved.

- Family friend arrives at apartment and doesn’t want to go in alone. Cabbie refuses (this is SE DC, after all). Family friend calls DP (non-emergency) and gets Surly Sapphire Lady (SSL) who won’t dispatch officers to assist, suggesting to Family friend that “you have the key, just go on in”.

- Family friend calls Mother, who’s now pissed.

- Mother calls DP (non-emergency) and gets SSL and essentially demands that officer’s be dispatched. SSL gives all kinds of attitude and “don’t talk to me that way” before divulging that there’s an actual department that handles the tele-types and she’s not the one responsible for them anyway. SSL gives mother the number.

- Mother calls tele-type department. No answer. No automated answering system. Just telephone rings.

- Mother calls family friend, says “just call 911″

- Family friend cannot dial 911, gets door shut in face by neighbors, calls friend and gets HER to call 911.

- Moments later, officers arrive, about 4 hours after the entire ordeal began.


Granted, it would’ve probably been a lot easier to just have family friend call 911 at the beginning of it all. Of course my mother couldn’t do it from her cell because the phone connected her to the nearest police department – and that’s where the hurdles were put in place. Another lesson learned: If something’s going to happen to you or your family, it’d better happen in VA or MD.

Leave a Reply