Thursday, July 13, 2006

Warning: 911 Does NOT Consider 'Loneliness' an Emergency

This story (and the Pat Casey story below, for that matter) is the reason we call LO a journal of "Oregon politics AND culture." If we restricted ourselves to the dry political scene, we'd bore even ourselves to death. Sometimes it's nice to sniff the virtual flowers, or laugh at the weird things that happen in our state on a regular basis. For example:
“I don’t have an emergency… I’ll think of something… throw him back my way, would you?.... just blame it on my dog,” Dudash told a puzzled dispatcher.

After several moments of awkward silence, the dispatcher began repeatedly asking why Dudash needed the deputy to return.

“Honey I’m just going to be honest with you, okay? I just thought he was cute, I’m 45-years-old and I’d just like to meet him again but I don’t know how to go about doing that without calling 9-1-1,” Dudash said at one point during the call.

She went on to say, “I know this is absolutely not in any way, shape or form an emergency, but if you would give the officer my phone number and ask him to come back… would you mind?”

Little did Dudash realize just how much the sheriff’s office did indeed mind.

The “cute” deputy returned, and, once he determined there was no legitimate emergency, he arrested Dudash for misusing 9-1-1. She now faces a $6,000 fine and up to a year in jail, according to Thompson.
As someone who works with emergency dispatchers now and again, there is a serious side to the story: nonemergencies and false calls cost money, drain resources, and endanger lives and property. It's a funny story, but I bet neighbors who waited on hold as their house burned wouldn't laugh quite so hard if Dudash's case of acute horniness delayed the dispatch of firefighters or other emergency personnel.

So as not to make this a total fluff piece, you can help save your area literally thousands of dollars with one simple step: put your cell phone on auto-keylock. If you can believe it, a huge number of calls to 911 are accidental cellphone calls from phones brushing up against other itmes in a purse or pocket. Here's a story about the trials suffered in Pinellas County, FL, and how they sought to solve the problem--coincidentally, with a lock for the '9' key developed by Oregonian Dale Lissner. No word on whether he's developing a lock for your finger, to keep you from dialing 911 on a booty call.