By Brett Gillin
There are a number of legitimate reasons to pick up the phone to dial 911. If your life is in danger, if you have witnessed a crime, or if you need to report suspicious activity are all great reasons to give the police a heads up. But with the recent rise of protests and riots and rising tensions between some citizens and law enforcement officers, we seem to be experiencing a marked uptick in 911 calls that should never be made, such as reporting a black man fishing in a pond, or jump-starting their car. According to several internet message boards, these exact types of calls are happening every day, and police officers simply need it to stop.
This thread on the online message board Reddit is quickly becoming a place for law enforcement officers and 911 dispatchers to share their stories of bogus 911 calls. The thread, title “People, please stop making my job so difficult,” was started by a law enforcement officer who needed to get something out in the open. The poster explained that last week, a call came in to dispatch reporting “suspicious activity.”
That suspicious activity: two black males jump starting their car at 9:30 in the morning. Not two armed men holding up a bank, not someone peering into windows, not even someone jaywalking in the middle of the city. No, it was simply two men trying to get their car started. To say this is a waste of police officers time is a gross understatement.
The top reply comes from an officer who relays the story of responding to a call of a black man fishing in a small neighborhood pond. When the officer arrived, the man immediately asked if his racist neighbor had, once again, called to complain. The officer responded that he was there for that exact reason, and the man produced his license, explaining that the same person calls the police on him every now and then. The officer thanked him, apologized for his “horrible neighbors” and got back to work.
The rest of the thread is littered with examples of police officers being called to investigate things like “Muslim-looking people,” “Trannys,” “Middle Eastern people driving,” meter-readers replacing batteries on their equipment, black males changing a tire, black people walking down a road, and black people standing on a sidewalk.
The original post may sum it up best: “People. If you’re going to be a racist, stereotypical jerk… keep it to yourself. Don’t call the police and make them get involved.” After all, it’s illegal to misuse 911 and to file false reports of crimes, so if you keep it up, the police may be coming for you next!