You’re On Your Own (For a While Anyway)

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Every once in a while I hear someone say something about relying on the police for protection, and it makes me wonder what planet they come from. While police officers would love to be there whenever things go wrong, so we could give the thugs and crooks their just deserts, the fact is we’ll probably arrive a few minutes after they’re gone.

Police are Your Cavalry at Best
While you may not like to think about it, YOU are your own the first line of defense. Except in a few unicorn situations where the bad guy just happened to miss the patrol officer standing next to him, you can expect at least a 5 minute lag between the call to 911 and the arrival of the first officer, and that’s on a call where you give us a good address and describe a clear and imminent threat to someone’s life.

Don’t Count on Dirty Harry
If you’re really lucky, there might be a gung-ho rookie officer who’s off-duty nearby. However, he won’t be wearing his body armor, he might not be armed, so he may not want to risk it. Likewise, he may not want to risk having your scumbag remember him later. (You’d be surprised how few people recognize officers out of uniform. It’s just like Superman and Clark Kent.) The probability of intervention drops to about zero if he’s there with his wife or kids, unless he feels that their safety depends on his intervention.

Gotta Wait For Your Turn
Keep in mind that you are not the only person in the city calling for the police. Dispatch will prioritize your call according to certain criteria, which basically comes down to who’s more likely to die if PD doesn’t get there quick, followed by who called first. If the Reaper isn’t knockin’ on your door, your call will be answered in the order in which it was recieved.

911 Needs to Know Where to Go
Contrary to popular belief, we don’t automatically know where you’re calling from. We may be able to “ping” the signal to get general area, usually the size of a city block, but in most urban areas, that’s pretty much useless! 1st thing you need to say is your location.

If You Don’t Call, We Don’t Come
Another possibility most people forget is that you may not have time to make a call to 911, and there’s no guarantee that anyone else will call either.

What am I trying to say? Don’t rely upon the police to save your butt! We are the cavalry/cleanup crew. Our job is to finish whatever fight you may have started, then take the report and try to hunt the bad guy down to prevent him from doing it to someone else. So, never rely on the police for your protection. Rely on your self!

What have been your experinces with police responses? Have you or “a friend” ever lied or exagerated to get a better response? Any ideas on how police responses could be improved?

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