Debunked by Snopes.Mark Atwood | When you do things right, people won't be sure email@example.com | you've done anything at all. [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Snopes says the incident did not occur, and they may be correct. Snopes also claims in that same article that police should be allowed to prioritize their work as they see best, and that may be correct also. However ... when calling police, people should _never_ be told to leave a recorded message and 'we will get back to you ASAP.' That does absolutely nothing to restore or maintain a citizen's confidence in the police who are supposed to serve him.
Citizens are told to only use 911 in a dire emergency, at least that is how I was taught. You are to use 911 only if _immediate_police_ intervention_is needed_this_very_instant. You want to report a stolen car or a burgarized house? Fine ... but those things are _not_ strictly speaking 'emergencies'. They are events that took place at some time in the past. But many times police wish to have everything go through911 -- emergency or not -- to keep their paperwork in order. Some police departments absolutely refuse to speak directly to citizens until the call has first gone through 911. As a result, sometimes 911 is horribly congested, leading to situations as described in the urban legend account. If 911 is used, the dispatchers should assume an emergency exists and deal with the call like one. They should _never_ tell the caller to 'leave a message and someone will get back to you'. At the same time, if a citizen is courteous enough to call the 7-D for police, police should be courteous enough to deal with him that way also. Police sometimes seem to want to have things both ways: use 911 so we can have some control over the origin of the call, etc, *and* use it for emergencies as well; _we_ will tell you what we can or will do about it'. If police have staffing problems sometimes as a result of this 'call 911 for everything' attitude, that's their problem to deal with. And of course now they want to handle all city government through 311 as well. PAT]