Stupid – And Often Repeated – 911 Calls


6 min read
Dial 911

Police officers have to go through a very rigorous preparation before getting the badge. Every scenario is mapped out to account for every potential hazard, ensuring that the police are fully prepared to deal with any crisis. It’s a terribly dangerous job that demands and deserves our respect.

Which makes it really infuriating for them, and head-scratching for us regular folks, when stupid people do stupid things and stupidly expect the cops to bail them out. Such as…

People Calling 911 When Facebook Is Down

911 Calling

999picture1According to several different police departments, people are so addicted to Facebook that they go completely off the rails without it. During one Facebook outage in 2014, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sent out an APT (All Points Tweet) reminding residents not to call them just because they couldn’t check in on their ex’s timeline.

999picture2Twitterers must have assumed Sergeant Brink was kidding, because just 20 minutes later he assured the Twitterverse that, yes, people really are that desperate when their social media goes down.

Also, does anyone wanna tell us about any cool felonies they got away with lately? #blessed #felony

Just a year later, residents in the San Francisco Bay area were at it. Five different people rang up 911 to find out when Facebook would be back online, prompting dispatchers to beg everyone to please leave their lines open for actual emergencies.

999picture3This isn’t just a California thing, either; folks across the pond have had similar reactions. When Facebook went down a second time in 2015, the Kingston Police Department got the drop on their antsy citizens, telling them to go spend some time with their families instead of calling them over a problem they literally couldn’t solve if they tried.

Policing People’s Farts

911 Call

Farts form the basis of all great human stories, containing elements of humor, violence, and methane. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they involve the police all the time.

First, let’s discuss the panicked health-related calls to emergency services. Authorities in Australia had to assure one caller that there was nothing they could do about the fact that they hadn’t flapped their butt-cheeks in the past 24 hours. Which is a tragedy, to be sure, but maybe not something you need to involve the police in. Meanwhile, U.K. residents have evidently turned to the authorities to find out how to stop farting so much. (The answer is “tape.”)

And while those are just emergency phone calls, the actual police can get involved too. One Swedish woman called the cops when her would-be suitor broke wind in her flat. According to the woman, she had been flirting with the guy pretty heavily and had invited him back to her place for some bedtime fun when she changed her mind. Her beau allegedly couldn’t handle the rejection and ripped out his revenge, or as she put it, “simply farted and left.” The poor guy was investigated, though the case was ultimately thrown out because there was no way to prove the butt-belch came with ill intentions.

To be fair, sometimes fart-related calls are semi-legitimate. When a Michigan resident heard their neighbor screaming, “No! Stop!” they understandably assumed she was being attacked and called 911. The police arrived on the scene only to discover that the woman was screaming at her boyfriend because he refused to stop farting. While this is certainly not the most constructive way to settle an argument, it is not yet illegal.

Stand-offs With Empty Buildings

Stand Off

After receiving information that two carjacking suspects were holed up inside, West Palm Beach officers surrounded an apartment building in Florida, waiting for the villains to come out. After spending the better part of a day staking the place out, and even bombarding it with tear gas grenades, they finally stormed inside to find the apartment completely empty.

999picture4This kind of thing happens all the time — if the cops get a tip that a potentially dangerous criminal might be inside an apartment or restaurant or abandoned Blockbuster Video, they’re sort of obligated to behave as though the criminal is definitely inside, because it’s better to look like a jackass than get shot in the face. For example, Dallas police recently waited outside an apartment for six hours, thinking they were dealing with a hostage situation. When they finally burst inside, they found the place empty, having missed both the suspect and a whole evening of primetime TV. And in Michigan, when officers heard some murder suspects might be hiding in a Flint apartment complex, they spent an entire day waiting outside the building, which turned out to contain zero murderers.

Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When the police take time and care in a stand-off situation, it minimizes the risk to bystanders, themselves, and the suspect. It’s always better than rushing in and whipping your gun out.

Speaking of whipping your gun out …

Being Mistaken For Strippers

911 Emergency

It sounds like something from a sitcom, but police officers regularly find themselves molested by handsy partygoers who mistake them for strippers.

999picture5Here’s a classic example: In the U.K., a police officer noticed that a social club normally closed on the weekends had its door propped open, with sounds of a ruckus emanating from within. He investigated, and walked right into a roomful of very excited women, who got all sorts of rowdy, thinking he was the stripper they had ordered (he was not). The embarrassed (but flattered) officer “beat a hasty retreat” and passed the real “entertainment” on the way out the door.

These incidents aren’t all that carefree. During a massive birthday celebration, also in the U.K., some heavily armed police officers searching for a suspected murderer were mistaken for strippers by a very drunk partygoer. In his defense, this guy had already been visited by an actual stripper dressed as a policewoman that night, and he realized something was up pretty quick with these strippers in that they had actual guns and securely fastened pants.

However, sometimes it takes people way longer to realize their mistake. Another man in the U.K., upon seeing a policewoman enter the bar he was currently patronizing, immediately started yelling to his friends that their stripper had arrived, before dancing around in front of the woman and whipping her with a bar towel. The officer was less than amused and proceeded to arrest him, but the man heroically refused to believe she was an actual peace officer until they arrived at the police station.

You might be noticing a pattern here – all of these cases of mistaken identities took place in the U.K. And while cops do get mistaken for strippers in other countries, it’s still amazing just how many of these cases seemed to occur in England. We guess English cops really look like strippers?

The Ever-Present Threat Of Sex Toys

999picture6Officers the world over are apparently dealing with a wave – a spree even – of buzzing vibrators. A full 90 people were evacuated from a German arcade before bomb disposal experts discovered that the strange noise coming from a trash can was just a sex toy cranked up full blast. Someone had apparently just wanted to play a particularly spirited game of Donkey Kong and didn’t feel like carrying their battery-operated Magnum all the way back home.

A similar event occurred in the garage of an apartment complex in Sweden, although in this case, respondents were content to let the mysteriously happy trash can buzz on its own until the vibrator within simply died. And in the U.S., Cedar Rapids police were called out to investigate a bag of suspicious items left unattended on a bench outside a daycare center. Both a K-9 unit and a bomb-sniffing robot were dispatched before the cops discovered the bag contained non-explosive sex toys, but the truly disturbing mystery of who left that bag there remains unsolved.

And finally, a woman in Germany called the police one night when she heard what she thought was the sound of a burglar trying to force his way into her home. Police arrived to discover that the “burglar” was a, um, home entertainment device that had fallen into her bathtub and was rattling away like a tiny jackhammer, resulting in the single most fantastic headline we have ever seen:

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