Dispatchers don’t get paid enough.

It is another day at the chronically under-staffed Bugscuffle County S.O.

Due to a family emergency, Deputy LawDog has temporarily taken over the 911 desk.

*ring, ring*

“Bugscuffle 911, this is Deputy LawDog, what is your emergency?”

“Is my baby’s daddy in jail?”

“Excuse me?”

“Is. My. Baby’s. Daddy. In. Jail?”

“Madam, I hardly think this qualifies as an emergency.”

“That’s what you think. Is he in jail, or not?’

“Umm. Okay. What’s his name?”

“Joel Critter.”

“Hmm. I’m not seeing anyone by that name in our jail.”

“He ain’t in your jail, he’s supposed to be in Austin jail.”

Long pause.

“You called Bugscuffle 911 to find out if someone’s in a jail 600 miles south of here?”

“Well … duh.”

“This is not an emergency. Goodbye, madam.”


*ring, ring*

“Bugscuffle 911, this is Deputy LawDog, what is your emergency?”

“I’ll have you know it is an emergency! If my baby’s daddy don’t sign over his checks, the baby ain’t gonna get fed!”

“Madam, you have to call Travis County to find out if your … whatever … is in their facility. We don’t have that information. Now, don’t call 911 again unless it’s an immediate emergency, that’s why we have the admin number. It’s in the front of the phone book. Goodbye, madam.”


“Do you have an emergency? Life or death, that doesn’t involve people half-a-state south of here?”

“Yes. See, Austin is a long-distance call. I can’t afford that, so I need y’all to call for me and ask if Joel is there.”

Long pause.



*ring, ring*

“Bugscuffle 911, this is Deputy LawDog, what is your emergency?”

“Now see here, you can’t just hang up on a 911 call that way!”

“You? Again?”

“Yes, mother[deleted], did you hear me?!”

“Are you still at 1313 Stump drive, #134?”

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“You going to be there for, oh, another five minutes?”

“Yes, mother[deleted] I live here. With my baby’s daddy, when he’s not in … oh, [deleted] you is going to send the laws here, aren’t you?! Oh, [deleted] the laws is coming! Get rid of that [deleted], the laws … *CLICK!*”

Whistling softly, I roll the chair over to the desk where the regular phone sits.

Glancing back-and-forth. I dial the LAST RECEIVED NUMBER on the display, and examine my fingernails.

*brrt … brrt … brrt*


“Tell her to take it out of the baggies before she flushes, or the commode will back up.”

“Oh, [deleted], they on the phone! *CLICK!*”

Hmm. How rude.

*brrt … brrt … brrt*


“Should I call Child Protective Services and three way the call, or would you like it to be a surprise?”

“Is this Mr. ‘Dog? Mr ‘Dog, is that you?”

“Actually, I believe the name you used was, ‘mother[deleted].'”

“Oh, [deleted], it’s Mr. ‘Dog! *CLICK!*”

Oh, what the hell.

*brrt … brrt … brrt … brrt … brrt*

No answer. Goodness. She was so communicative earlier, but now no answer. Obviously, something has happened to the residents of that address.

“County, Car 29.”

“29, go ahead.”

“29, go to 1313 Stump Drive, number 134 in reference to multiple 911 hangups and a welfare check.”

“10-4 County, en route.”

We don’t pay our dispatchers enough to put up with this kind of thing.


The Wheels of Justice Grind Slow ...
After a gentle noodge

35 thoughts on “Dispatchers don’t get paid enough.”

  1. “We don’t pay our dispatchers enough to put up with this kind of thing.”

    It sounds like great fun to me.

  2. I think that was at least a class 3 beverage alert item. *wiping off keyboard*

  3. I’m glad I wasn’t drinking anything when I read that.

    Thanks for the laughs.

  4. I think that the dispatch call should have been Silent Or Abusive 911 Calls. I would have to say that calling the dispatcher a “mother [deleted]” qualifies as:
    “(2) makes abusive or harassing statements to a PSAP employee.”

    Solid Class B misdemeanor, with the 911 tape to back you up.

  5. You were too kind to remind them to take it out of the baggie, It would be so much easier to book them for posession and have the kid taken away if the toilet was plugged up with a baggie full of dope. It would have been the kindest thing you could have done for the kid.

  6. I used to work dispatch, LawDog. It made for fun Saturday nights.

  7. Coming from experience, no you have no idea how underpaid we are/were! I could send you into hysterics with some the calls that came in when I was a dispatcher. I think the funniest one had to be the lady that kept going on about the ghosts who stole her keys. Her husband walks into the room screaming, “Did you call 911 again?!” Poor lady had demenitia.

  8. This is why I never drink when reading LawDog’s blog.

    Interesting that “911 hangup” has nothing in it about which party terminated the call…

  9. OMG,that was hysterical. I used to think that those of us in the ER had all the fun.

  10. On reaching “Or would you like it to be a surprise?”, it was a good thing that my seat reclines or I’d’ve bust the back off letting the guffaws out. Thanks, LD!

  11. Your dispatchers may not get paid enough, but I don’t get paid enough to keep replacing my monitor every time I read your blog. Where’s my towel?

  12. Yup, that’s some funny stuff. You can’t just make up this stuff, either, and I guess that’s the sad part. I was somewhere between laughing and thinking “where do these idiots keep coming from”.

    mustanger98 on THR

  13. Remind me never to reeeally piss you off, ok?

    That was a hoot! Why can’t I ever come up with stuff like that until the next day?

  14. You know, maybe the county doesn’t pay its dispatchers enough for that kinda thing, but with a few “name changed to protect the guilty”s, this kinda thing might be good sitcom fodder. “Criminalz iz dum” has a nice ring to it.

  15. Note to self:
    “take it out of the baggie BEFORE”

    Good post LawDog!

    Considering what might’ve been in the baggie, the call did qualify as an immediate emergency, for the baby.

  16. I was up at the S.O. fixing some stuff for a couple of the deputies and more importantly hanging out in the radio room flirting with one of the girls dispatching when this old guy calls up all irate.

    Seems he’s got himself a new scanner to keep himself occupied in retirement and of course the county sheriff ops is tops for amusement on a daily basis and for vital info in case of emergency. But the problem is one must get to know the nomenclature before it all makes sense. Now he’s just spittin’ mad that they’re wasting the deputies time running them all over the county handing out welfare checks. Why just today he’s heard a half a dozen people call in and request welfare checks for people.

  17. ‘snorful’ I gotta stop reading your blog at work – people look at me funny when am giggling insanely to myself back in my cubicle.

  18. Oh! the humanity. coff coff Mark Co. Also already learned not to have drink near lips when reading LD

  19. Dog I see in the news you lost a two from the SO in Texas today and one hurt. . . you haven’t posted in a while, hope all is well. Will keep you and them and their familys in our thoughts here up north. . .


  20. I am working dispatch right now. We are a bit underpaid at times, it is true. However as I sit here munching popcorn, blogging and watching DVDs, I am currently feeling very, very overpaid. Man I love my job. One minute I am watching Denzel fight the bad guys next minute, my magazine goes flying as one of my guys gets in a pursuit. 🙂

  21. “Tell her to take it out of the baggies before she flushes, or the commode will back up.”

    It’s nice to know that there are still some officers out there that go the extra mile to help their fellow (wo)man. ;^)

  22. OMG, I have been dispatching for 13 years and at times we are underpaid but I wouldnt want any other job…. Your response to her cracked me up. I love it

  23. Wow, finally a call that beats my best call. I used to work as an EMS dispatcher, and we had some guy call in (no idea what number, as they all ring to the same phone):

    [ring ring]
    Me: [Ambulance Company], how can I help you?
    Caller (heavily accented): Yes, is this an escort service?
    [long pause]
    Me: Er…no. What would make you think that?
    Caller: My friend gave me this number as that of an escort service.
    Me [restraining from laughing]: I’m sorry sir, this is an ambulance company.
    Caller: Are you sure? He was quite certain about this being an escort service.
    Me: Yes, I’m sure sir. I am wearing a uniform saying [company name] on it, the sign on the wall says [company name], and there are several ambulances parked in the lot outside. There also happen to be several EMTs and paramedics playing cards in the other room.
    Caller: Are you certain you’re not an escort service?
    Me: Quite certain, sir. Though our ambulances do have beds in the back. We’ll charge you $1,600 for the flag drop and $20/mile, and you can ride in comfort with high-flow oxygen wherever you want if you can pay for it. We take cash, check, credit card, or major insurance policies.
    Caller: [hang up]

    The boss had a hearty laugh when he reviewed the tape the next day. 🙂

  24. LawDog … as a former 9-1-1 Dispatcher and fire/ambu/police telecommunicator … thank you. A. For taking a spin in the Hot Seat and B. Realizing dispatchers really don’t get paid enough. (Neither do cops, for that matter.) I’ve dealt with idjits like that and, yes, I sent the prowl cars to perform ‘welfare checks’ on abusive 9-1-1 callers.

  25. Sad but true, we get these ALL the time.

    “My boyfriend was arrested by Border Patrol, can I talk to him?”

    UMM.. No, you’d have to call Border Patrol.

  26. Thank you for that bit of humor…a nice referral from Babs! As I am at work fighting the same idiots, it’s nice to know someone understands!!!!

  27. For the record, the officer who shows up for a 911 hang up is very friendly.
    it should also be noted that if your phone has just been disconnected, for whatever reason, then yes, 911 will still ring.

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