For a very brief moment in time, before all of my radio jobs, I worked as a dispatcher for the Town of Watertown, Connecticut, at the Watertown Police Headquarters on French Street.

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I was awful at it, and I only lasted around six months before I gave up and quit. What I got out of that brief career was deep respect for our law enforcement officers, firemen, and dispatchers. The situations that they have to endure every single day are incredible. I found out very quickly that listening and helping someone through a crisis is not simple. Your lack of concentration can endanger first responders, and it's not for everyone.

It's National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week(April 9-15, 2023), and I thought that I'd share a funny story about the strangest 911 call that I received while I was working as 911 operator for Watertown.

The majority of the 911 calls that I received during my time were domestic incidents -  Calls for an officer to help break up a fight, get a drunk out of a bar, complaints of vandalism, or a suspicious vehicle, etc. But one Saturday afternoon, I picked up the phone, and it went like this -

Me - '911. what's your emergency?'

Caller - 'My husband was out back, and a racoon fell out of a tree AND KNOCKED HIM OUT'

Me - 'Hmmm..Ok ma'am, is he breathing?'

Caller - 'He's Snoring and I can't get him to wake up!'

Getty Images
Getty Images

This happened in 1989, when you could still maybe get away with a prank call, but I sent a skeptical officer over to help them out. Sure enough, when the officer returned, he verified the events. He said the guy was awake by the time he arrived, and kind of remembered that 'Something loud hit his head, and the next thing he knew his wife was standing over him, screaming for him to wake up'.

Watch out for those racoons on Guernseytown Road, and thank you for everything you do first responders and telecommunicators.

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