Got a big wake-up call the other night.
Over the weekend, I found out that one of our students was involved in an incident at her home. After reading through her description, I asked if it would be okay to relate the story and add some comments and she gave me permission. I’ll add my comments at the end.
“I was sound asleep last night and around 2:15 AM on Saturday someone started knocking on the windows of my bedroom, and also went around the corner of the house and knocked on the windows of the guest bedroom. I called 911 and it rang for about three minutes before I hung up and was pretty confused. I wondered if I dialed it wrong, so I immediately called 911 again and it rang again for almost 2 minutes. During this I had my Glock 19 holstered in my hand, as well as my shotgun and my carbine ready on the bed. The knocking continued on different windows for about 20 seconds. I tried to call two nearby relatives, but they didn’t pick up. I also called the police non-emergency number twice and got an answering machine. So, I locked the door to my bedroom and got in the safest position possible. I called 911 and it rang for over a minute and a half until an operator picked up. I gave them the standard information and what was going on. The operator said that they would send someone out as soon as possible to my location and that I should wait for the officers to knock and announce at the front door. I hung up with the operator and called my best friend and stayed on the phone with her until I heard the officers knock on my door and told them what was going on. They advised that the 911 Call Center is short staffed due to the whole Defund the Police movement. They walked the perimeter of my house and told me they didn’t see anything unusual and that they would patrol the neighborhood and be in the area for a while. They advised me that it was probably some kids playing pranks, but that they would continue to monitor the area for a while. That’s it.”
Fortunately, nothing else happened. This woman has been to several of our classes, had a plan and the right ‘tools’, and did everything right. What needs to be emphasized here is the fact that you will be on your own for some time until the police eventually arrive.
Our student was trying to contact the police for approximately ten minutes before she got any response. TEN MINUTES!! And that was just to speak with a 911 operator. It took several more minutes for the police to actually arrive at her house. As far as the officer’s comments that it was, “probably some kids playing pranks”, he doesn’t know who it was or what their intentions were.
It doesn’t make any difference why there was a delay in the response. Not to the potential victim. This should be a real concern to everyone. As a long time LEO (Law Enforcement Officer), I can assure you the police will get there …. eventually. Some say, “Ten minutes isn’t that long!” OK … Try to hold your breath for ten minutes … and GO! I’ll wait.
The average 911 response time in the US is eleven minutes. Administrators will explain there is a dispatcher shortage, officer shortage, call prioritization, et al. While some of that is true, if you have called 911 and are waiting for a response, you don’t care about any of that. What you care about is protecting yourself and your family.
Having some training, a plan, the correct ‘tools’ and, putting the plan into action when appropriate, can be essential when confronted with a potential threat. In this case the plan worked and all is well. You cannot count on the police to get there in a timely manner as this incident shows - and this is not an isolated incident.
BE SAFE • BE EFFECTIVE • BE READY