Diatribe: “Hello 911? There Are Drunk People In The Bar! Arrest Them!”
Like many office telephone systems across the nation, in my office we must dial a “9” in order to get an “outside line”. (It’s funny how we still say that we “dial” a telephone number when the majority of people under the age of thirty have never used a rotary phone, isn’t it?) If the number that we’re calling is beyond of our local area code, we then press “1” as if calling from any other telephone. Several times during my years with the firm I have witnessed the arrival of uniformed law enforcement officers who had arrived to investigate allegations of 911 Abuse.
Apparently, the sensitive nature of the touch-tone phones in our office can result in duplicate numbers if the buttons are depressed for too long. So 9-1 can easily become 9-1-1 which makes the police show up at the receptionist’s desk. There was one person in particular who did this several times and had to answer quite a few questions when three armed officers asked for her by name. There are laws that apply specifically to calling 911 when there is no emergency and she had, clearly yet unintentionally, broken one.
Mary Jaggers’ six calls to 911 last week night were no accident.
Jaggers, 58, allegedly called 911 dispatchers six times to report the presence of intoxicated people at Artie’s Sportsman Lounge in Hollywood, Florida, and told them that she wanted all of the bar’s patrons arrested. That’s right … she thought there was too much drinking going on at her neighborhood bar.
Officer eventually arrested HER and charged her with misusing the 911 system, a misdemeanor. They also charged her with felony drug possession when, during their investigation, they discovered she had the narcotic painkiller hydrocodone, commonly known as Vicodin.
“I have a feeling that the mixture between Artie’s Bar and the hydrocodone probably led to the calling of 911.” – Broward Circuit Court Judge John Hurley.
Jaggers appeared in court the following day and explained to the judge that she had made the repeated calls because she didn’t want anyone at Arties to drive drunk … she had called out of concern for the safety of others. Broward Circuit Court Judge John Hurley ordered the over-eager neighborhood watchdog to stay away from Arties and alcohol in general.
When those officers showed up at the office and asked for that woman you could, literally, see the blood drain from her face. Everyone assumed that it was her that they were looking for but the fact that there were three of them, each carrying a weapon and a set of handcuffs, made the situation all the more tense. They left her at her desk with yet another warning but the experience was enough to make a difference in her routine. She never made another long distance call from her desk. She would always dial from another phone and transfer the call to her own extension.
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