Smart 911 operator realizes a caller asking for a pizza is reporting domestic abuse

And yet happy that it worked at the same time.


I was going to say this too. Points to the operator for figuring out what the caller wanted but to even think of the ruse in the first place the girl is the one that should be commended. It really saddens me that her and her mom are in a bad situation, i really wish them the best and hope they have good local resources to support them.


Why does it matter?


Makes me wonder if each emergency call could start with a quick, automated statement like “Emergency operator, say X if under duress” where X would be a word selected randomly from a pre-determined list".


Oh sure, it’s just the form factor I was remarking on - the exact same electronics that go in a handset can fit in a headset that avoids cramping neck muscles from cramming the thing against your ear with your shoulder.

When I worked in a call centre, the phones we had were POTS devices (probably somewhere in a back room was a VoIP gizmo, but the things at our desks were POTS). Just the mic and speaker were mounted in a hands free headset, with a hand-operated toggle switch instead of a cradle switch.


This is a venerable urban legend.


“There is nothing digital on a POTS handset that would make it crash or need to reboot, for example” - well on the caller’s end, probably, but the switching equipment at the phone company is probably digital, and a lot of dispatch agencies have digital equipment now…

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My municipality just added that and it seems like such a good idea. So many situations I can think of where that would save a life. Domestic violence being a big one.


With the facebook meme (which I haven’t seen) going around and this story suggesting that fielding this type of call is new, the 911 dispatchers should be trained to deal with the possibility of someone using ANY code, not just that pizza = help. The first words out of a dispatchers mouth after a WFT opening line from a caller should be, “This is 911. Did you call this number because you need help?” And then to do their best to determine response level, etc.

Also, how about an emergency text option? Something that can be triggered and will dump name, location and anything else that might be helpful to a local dispatcher. Something that a DV or kidnapping victim could initiate in < 10 seconds from any phone they got their hands on. Now, judging from the weird texts I’ve somehow managed to generate while jogging, we’d have to work hard to minimize false alarms, but cell phones are everywhere and would be an ideal tool for quickly and surreptitiously calling for help if the same software was built into all of them.


Why the added complication? “Yes” is often the first word you say into the phone, e.g. in response to “can you hold” or “would you like to place an order?”

Hard to explain why the first word you said was “astronomer” when you said you were calling for pizza.


Thank you Gunter for acknowledging correct pronunciation of our beloved state name.

@jaded specified the handset, not the infrastructure. And I agree. A headset requires external power, either directly to the headset, or if battery powered, then to the phone. A POTS phone is “powered” from the line to which it’s connected.

Hands up whoever has been in contact with a phone line when ringing current comes through.


I hope the other guy got some pepperoni.

Yeah, it doesn’t work in reverse. Calling a pizza place and reporting a crime in progress does not result in a pizza being delivered.

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