Dispatch fields strange calls, especially on Thanksgiving

By: Taylor Temby Email
By: Taylor Temby Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Many of us are thankful in the event of an emergency on a holiday, as we can always dial 911 for help. Know More about abusing those three magic numbers, including on holidays.

"I know this isn't an emergency, but...." It’s a sentence dispatchers shouldn't hear, but that doesn’t stop the calls from coming in.

The holidays are no exception, so dispatchers are still working, taking their fair share of calls on Thanksgiving.

"Typically Thanksgiving is one of the more quiet holidays," Grand Junction Police Department communications supervisor Glen Klaich said.

Of course, there is the occasional fried turkey gone wrong when someone doesn’t thaw the turkey completely.

"We get some patio or house fires because of that,” Klaich said.

That’s understandable. But then, there are some who use 911 as an “everything” line.

“We also get the occasional 911 call of, ‘At what temperature or how long do I cook my turkey?’” Klaich said.

There's no question: dispatch is prepared for anything, but 911 is an emergency number for a reason, and abusing it is a year-round issue, not just on Thanksgiving.

"The people that are here are able to handle most anything that comes their way," he said. "People don't take the time to look up the phone number for the non-emergency, but they do know off the top of their head 911 will get them to law enforcement."

There are a limited number of emergency lines, so calling 911 for a non-emergency crisis would tie up police resources when there are people who really need it during the holiday season, like in the instance of one of the favorite Thanksgiving memories of the GJPD dispatch. The story of the grandma who was left behind in Glenwood Springs.

"She was sleeping when they got out of the car for a rest stop and they didn't know she got out of the vehicle," Klaich said remembering the story. “They just hopped [back] in and she was just quiet, or so they thought, and they get all the way to Grand Junction and realize she's missing."

Those working in dispatch and at the police station also shared a Thanksgiving meal Thursday at work. A survey by CareerBuilder shows one in five people this year will be eating Thanksgiving with turkeys, er, co-workers.

KKCO 11 News would like to extend a special thanks to those who worked on Thanksgiving to help us all enjoy our day.

To hear more non-emergency calls to dispatch lines, click on the video.

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  • by Anonymous on Nov 22, 2012 at 08:58 PM
    Abuse of 911 is not the public's fault if there is no other working number after regular business hours. I have had non emergency situations and the only people in law enforcement that would answer the phone was 911. I guess if I need to report a crime then it's an emergency, otherwise I should wait until the next business day, even if I think the police might get involved...like the time I broke down in DeBeque Canyon on a Saturday afternoon and would not be able to get back to it and fix it until Sunday. Not an emergency but I wanted law enforcement know.
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