TOLEDO, Ohio (CNN Newsource) – A wrong call at first glance quickly turned out to be a call for help.
Luckily for an Ohio woman, her 911 dispatcher was listening very carefully.
In his 14 years of service, this is a call Oregon dispatcher Tim Teneyck has never gotten before.
The victim’s daughter dialed 911 to signal that her mother was in trouble, but at first Tenyck didn’t understand, saying “you called 911 to order a pizza?”
“No, no, no you’re not understanding,” said the caller.
That’s when Tenyck put the pieces together and alerted police that the caller was in trouble.
Dispatcher: “Is the other guy still there?”
Caller: “Yep. I need a large pizza.”
Dispatcher: “All right. How about medical. You need medical?”
Caller: “No. With pepperoni.”
After this exchange, Teneyck alerted officers to hurry.
Dispatcher: “Turn your sirens off before you get there. Caller ordered a pizza. And agreed with everything I said that there’s domestic violence going on.”
He says domestic violence calls are common, but not like this.
“You see it on Facebook but it’s not something that anybody has ever been trained for. We’re just trained to listen,” said Teneyck. “Other dispatchers that I’ve talked to would not have picked up on this. They’ve told me they wouldn’t have picked up on this.”
Teneyck says his intuition that something wasn’t right kicked in, which to him, reaffirms how important listening is in his line of work.
Oregon Police Chief Michael Navarre says ordering a pizza to indicate domestic violence is something he’s never heard of.
“Excellent dispatch work on the part of our dispatcher. Some dispatchers may have hung up,” said Navarre. “Not in all my years, not in my 42 years of law enforcement.”
But coming up with some kind of code to alert 911 that you’re in trouble is the right thing to do.
Chief Navarre says if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, here’s what you should do: “Somehow or another convey to that police dispatcher that you are in trouble. And this woman did that. She did that not with her words, but with the tone of her voice,” said Navarre.
Thanks to the quick thinking of both the caller and the dispatcher, the alleged abuser, Simon Lopez, was arrested.
“He handled the call beautifully and it had a happy ending,” said Navarre.
The victim’s daughter says when she made the call, she was hoping to keep the person hitting her mom from running away before police arrived.
Thankfully, that strategy worked.
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