I wasn’t a 911 operator, but a supervisor for AT&T’s ’00 Info’ directory information (think 411). While remotely listening in on some agents one evening one particular call was escalated to tier 2 for assistance. On the other end of the line was a woman who was hysterical saying her husband was trying to kill her.
Protocol dictates that we trace the number to the local LEC (local exchange carrier) and notify law enforcement in the area. We do this, but we had no way to connect the call to the local sheriff dispatch (silly I know, but we technically weren’t true operators and our equipment didn’t support that functionality.) Basically, we had to act as a relay between the LEO and the victim on the phone.
By this time I had moved from my office to seat myself next to the tier 2 agent to help her keep her cool while everything was going down. The agent, let’s call her April (because that’s her name) was handling the call very well at first but started to lose her cool as the call progressed.
While listening in on the call next to April and trying to convey what is going on to the LEO on the other line, we hear the woman who initially called in say:
Her: He went to get an axe!
Us: Ma’am, where are you now?
Her: I’m locked in the bathroom, please hurry!
Us: The sheriff’s office is on their way, they say they are five minutes out.
Then we hear loud banging on the door. Her husband was trying to chop his way through the door with the axe. April lost it when she heard the woman start screaming knowing her husband was coming after her with an axe. She threw her headset off and walked away saying something like ‘I can’t do it! I can’t!’ April heads off to the ladies room to collect herself.
So I pick up the headset to reassure the lady on the phone.
Me: Ma’am, the sheriff, is at your house now. Where is your husband?
Her: Back bathroom, he is at the door!
More loud banging from the axe. By this time the woman was overly hysterical and crying madly.
Then: “Sheriffs department, drop the axe!”
“SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT, DROP THE DAMN AXE!”
Pop pop, pop pop
The local LEO dispatch directed me to ask the lady open the bathroom door and she does. The next voice I heard on her phone was a Sheriff Deputy. All he said was this: “The situation is under control, operator. Disengage the call.”
I still get chills and all teary thinking about it.
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