911 dispatcher: Clever ‘pizza order’ may have saved woman’s life

National/World News
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(Credit: MGN Online)
(Credit: MGN Online)

PORTLAND, Ore. — A former police dispatcher, Keith Weisinger, revealed one of the most powerful and clever 911 calls he ever received — and that tale is now going viral on Reddit.

It was part of an AskReddit thread titled, “911 operators, what is the 1 call that could never forget?”

User Crux1836 wrote that he first thought the 911 call he received from a woman saying she wanted to order a pizza was prank, but quickly realized it was a clever call for help from a domestic violence victim.

Weisinger, who worked from 2004-2006 as dispatcher before going to law school, provided this transcript of the relatively short exchange:

Dispatcher: 911, where is your emergency?

Caller: 123 Main St.

Dispatcher: Ok, what’s going on there?

Caller: I’d like to order a pizza for delivery. (oh great, another prank call).

Dispatcher: Ma’am, you’ve reached 911

Caller: Yeah, I know. Can I have a large with half pepperoni, half mushroom and peppers?

Dispatcher: Ummm…. I’m sorry, you know you’ve called 911 right?

Caller: Yeah, do you know how long it will be?

Dispatcher: Ok, Ma’am, is everything ok over there? do you have an emergency?

Caller: Yes, I do.

Dispatcher: And you can’t talk about it because there’s someone in the room with you? (moment of realization)

Caller: Yes, that’s correct. Do you know how long it will be?

Dispatcher: I have an officer about a mile from your location. Are there any weapons in your house?

Caller: Nope.

Dispatcher: Can you stay on the phone with me?

Caller: Nope. See you soon, thanks.

The dispatcher wrote that as officers responded, he checked the address’ history and spotted multiple domestic violence calls.

“The officer arrives and finds a couple — female was kind of banged up, and boyfriend was drunk,” Crux1836 wrote. “Officer arrests him after she explains that the boyfriend had been beating her for a while.”

The woman’s boyfriend was arrested, according to the post.

“I thought she was pretty clever to use that trick,” Crux1836 wrote.

Weisinger recently told Buzzfeed, who tracked him down via his Reddit post, that the call happened nearly 10 years ago.

Weisinger, who is now an attorney for the Environmental Protection Agency in Portland, told the site he doesn’t know what happened to the victim.

“This is a part of the job most 911 dispatchers find frustrating,” Weisinger said. “Beyond the immediate resolution – arrest, hospitalization, etc – we rarely hear what happens to the people who call.”

However, Weisinger credited the woman’s quick thinking and said he had positive memories of his time as a dispatcher. He also had some revealing insights about domestic violence calls.

“Generally a 911 dispatcher handles two types of call – medical or law enforcement,” Weisinger said. “Medical calls are more frequent, but if I had to guess which type of law enforcement call my department handled most, it would be domestic disturbance.”

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