26 thoughts on ““I used to be a 911 dispatcher. I had to respond to racist calls every day.”

  1. < ![CDATA[Would it be an idea to annotate phone numbers that make racist 911 calls, so the next time they call, the dispatcher gets an additional clue on how to interpret that call?]]>

  2. I’ve got another question while reading this article: do dispatchers and police seriously have to respond to prank 911 calls? As far as I know, in Netherland you can be punished for misusing the emergency number (112 here). This sounds like US police have to waste time and time on every stupid prank call with no consequences for the caller.

  3. < ![CDATA[I've got another question while reading this article: do dispatchers and police seriously have to respond to prank 911 calls? As far as I know, in Netherland you can be punished for misusing the emergency number (112 here). This sounds like US police have to waste time and time on every stupid prank call with no consequences for the caller.]]>

  4. I think authorities may be hesitant to start punishing people that do this because of the “see something, say something” campaign. If they really want people to call about “suspicious activity” some may be unwilling if there’s a fear of getting in trouble when they do. I think our emergency services need more leeway to decide whether a call is valid, but due to a litigious society and the possibility of bias in the dispatcher, it’s probably best that they don’t. Which swings back to better training and accountability for law enforcement officers.

  5. < ![CDATA[I think authorities may be hesitant to start punishing people that do this because of the "see something, say something" campaign. If they really want people to call about "suspicious activity" some may be unwilling if there's a fear of getting in trouble when they do. I think our emergency services need more leeway to decide whether a call is valid, but due to a litigious society and the possibility of bias in the dispatcher, it's probably best that they don't. Which swings back to better training and accountability for law enforcement officers.]]>

  6. I think if the caller is genuinely “concerned”, there’s no prank in a legal sense.

    And imagine if a caller was dismissed and then turned out to be legitimate. The cries of white genocide would never die down.

  7. < ![CDATA[I think if the caller is genuinely "concerned", there's no prank in a legal sense. And imagine if a caller was dismissed and then turned out to be legitimate. The cries of white genocide would never die down.]]>

  8. But these examples are not legitimate concerns. They’re just examples of walking while black.

    What the police should be doing, is take note of the racism, and keep an eye on the racist.

  9. < ![CDATA[But these examples are not legitimate concerns. They're just examples of walking while black. What the police should be doing, is take note of the racism, and keep an eye on the racist.]]>

  10. < ![CDATA[Unfortunately just because the caller is racist doesn't mean that there isn't suspicious activity occurring. The dispatcher is not on the scene and has limited information.]]>

  11. < ![CDATA[Agreed. But I think they're reluctant to charge the caller for the reasons I gave above. The officer should certainly address the caller and take action if they press an innocent situation.]]>