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Reporting Yourself

One night I answered the cellular 911 line and heard a muffled voice on the other end say "I'm intoxicated and I'm driving my car." I had quite a bit of training in handling different types of calls, but never had I thought about what to say to a person reporting herself as a drunk driver! I thought quickly and decided to first try to convince her to stop driving, as she sounded obviously drunk and was a danger to the public. "Why don't you just pull over right now, ma'am, and I'll call you a taxi cab?" I asked her. "No," she replied, "I don't want a taxi." I tried several tactics telling her how dangerous it was to keep driving, describing all the trouble she would have if she got arrested and sent to jail, telling her that she was endangering not only herself but the other drivers on the road, too, but she wouldn't listen to any argument. Finally I asked her "Ma'am, if you didn't want help, why did you call me?" She said "um.... I don't know." I didn't really think she would help to get herself caught by police, but it was worth a shot, so I asked her where she was and what kind of vehicle she was driving. To my surprise, she cooperated fully, knowing that she was turning herself in, as if she wanted to be caught! Unfortunately, though, she was rather lost and could only give me a vague description of where she was and where she was headed to, but it was enough to dispatch the call, so I told her to hold on a minute and I put it out over the radio, adding that I was on the line with the reporting party who was also the suspect driver. A county deputy overheard the dispatch and told us that he had arrested the same lady over a half dozen times before and he remembered her license plate number, which helped get us a better description of the car. About that time, she got tired of talking to me and hung up. Troopers waited at all the exits she could have taken for quite some time, but she never showed up at any of them, so after awhile we had to give up and assume she had gotten lost. We weren't able to call her back because she couldn't remember her cell phone number and our office does not yet have Enhanced 911 ANI (Automatic Number Identifier) displays.

Dealing with this call was certainly interesting, and certainly made me think about how to deal with really odd calls that you can't really prepare for.

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