Professionals in law enforcement are trained to take every single call they receive seriously. Sure, they get some prank calls, but they’re still required to investigate where need be.
That doesn’t mean everyone in the profession follows that rule. In fact, Tim Teneyck, a dispatcher in Ohio, nearly hung up on a woman who called 911 to order a pizza—until he realized what was going on.
“I would like to order a pizza,” the 911 caller said on the initial hello, giving her address to Teneyck.
Obviously confused, Teneyck questioned back at her, “You called 911 to order a pizza?”
“Yeah,” the woman responded, offering him her apartment number.
“This is the wrong number to order a pizza,” Teneyck said, trying once more to make the woman understand.
But in fact, she most certainly did understand. It was Teneyck who wasn’t understanding at first.
“No, no, no, no…you’re not understanding,” the woman said, pleading with the dispatcher.
Suddenly, it clicked for Teneyck. “I’m getting you now…the guy still there?” he asked.
“Yeah, I need a large pizza,” the woman said again.
The conversation continued in pizza code until Teneyck told her that the woman should be expecting someone soon. When he told officers the address, he was even smart enough to inform them to turn off their sirens before they entered the apartment.
“Caller ordered a pizza, and agreed with everything I said that there was domestic violence going on,” he explained to his crew.
The woman who called ended up not being the person who was getting abused, but the daughter of a 57-year-old woman who had a boyfriend who came home drunk, threatening to punch and push the woman. She later told officers that she was pushed so hard that she fell into the wall.
Thanks to the dispatcher’s as well as the woman’s, quick thinking, Simon Ray Lopez, 56, was arrested and held on a domestic violence charge.
“[Teneyck] utilized his training and his experience to recognize that a woman was in distress,” said Mike Navarre, the chief of police in Oregon, Ohio. “We have no way of knowing what would have happened if she didn’t get through.”
Many domestic violence support groups advise victims to make discreet calls like this when they’re in need. And though Teneyck, as well as Navarre, was unaware of this method, he still caught on quickly.
“A good dispatcher is going to recognize that this is a person who wants to talk and needs help. That is exactly what happened here,” Navarre said. “Some dispatchers might hang up on this person, but it’s worth a try give it your best shot. That’s what she did, and it worked out extremely well.”
To hear how the whole call went down, check out the video below.
How unbelievable is this call? Would you ever think to do something like this if you were in need? What do you think of this method?