Posted in Around Town

Pasadena Police Department 911 Response

It’s been a rough weekend in my little corner of Northwest Pasadena, what with Pasadena Police Department officers showing up on my doorstep and insisting that they enter.

First they showed up a 4:00 am on Saturday morning, saying that they were responding to a 911 call. We told them we did not make a 911 call. They told us the number from which the call was made. I recognized the number as the line that goes out to the garage (a relic from the old ‘office in the garage’ idea). Currently, there is no phone hooked up to that line.

Apparently, the line is shorting out and somehow sending a 911 call to the police.

So they just showed up for a second time, insisting that someone made a 911 call and they had to come inside to make sure ‘everyone is okay.’

“We didn’t make a 911 call,” I said.

“That’s not our concern,” they said, “We are responding to a 911 call.”

I explained how the phone line is shorting out, how I called the PPD yesterday to let them know that the line is sending out false 911 calls. Apparently, that doesn’t matter. A 911 call is a 911 call and protocol will be followed.

I told the officers I would be happy to talk to them on my front porch, but that was not an option. Some 15 years ago, someone was held against her/his will and a 911 call was made. The response to the call was botched and the person got killed. That’s why the protocol is the way it is.

So folks, now you know what will happen if you call 911. Or if they think you called 911 but you didn’t.

I must confess I am an unpleasant citizen during these encounters. Maybe it’s the fact that it is Sunday morning and I’m reading my New York Times wearing a t-shirt and a blanket. Do not approach a braless WCGB unless you’ve been given permission.

The Scout is a much nicer person respects authority. I think he even went outside to explain to them that I am not criminally insane, what with my avoiding eye contact and barking and all.

The 4 am episode early Saturday morning was even worse. I was asleep on the couch and didn’t hear the first knocks. The Scout answered the door. The officers insisted that a 911 call had been made and that they needed to “inspect the telephone.” This made no sense to The Scout. He didn’t want to let them in, but they were insistent.

I woke up to the officers waving their flashlights about the place. In my post-Merlot daze, I heard myself yell “AFUERA!” and point to the door. Only later did I realize that some part of me perceived that they were Latino and young, and I pulled an “I am your elder and you won’t tell me what to do” on them, (despite my lame Spanglish; all nouns and prepositions, few verbs). They slunk (did I imagine it?) to the front door and left. En serio, this is embarrassing.

But what have we learned from the movies? We have learned that you never let anyone in the house. Never. Anyone. Ever. I don’t care if they have uniforms, guns, badges and flashlights. I didn’t make a 911 call so how do I know the whole thing isn’t a big scam?

That’s ‘middle of the night’ thinking, I know. But I really didn’t know the rules pertaining to 911 calls until now.


This is a personal blog. Expect a potpourri of stuff.

5 thoughts on “Pasadena Police Department 911 Response

  1. Oh, I’m the same way. Bark, blanket, braless (? did I ?wha?), unbriefly mad about bogus barging ins. You are fortunate to have a handler. Me? It’s only a matter of time before I am locked in a glass cage of emotion and dumped in the desert of the diasporic. I need a wrangler.

  2. Ok, you’re not criminally insane. Well, that answers part of it.
    4am in NW Pas? This is one of the better dreams/nightmares I’ve heard: thanks for sharing it!

  3. Here’s the other side of the coin that many people don’t realize. There are many, many cases where a victim of domestic violence calls 9-1-1, but when police arrive she (or he) feels so intimidated by the perpetrator that he/she says everything is OK, that there must have been some mistake. Police have to follow up on this instead of simply walking away and potentially leaving a victim in harm’s way. I state with authority on two levels: (1) having worked for municipal government for 20 years and working with police departments in two cities; and (2) my daughter Jessica in San Diego is a 9-1-1 operator for San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and I hear this kind of thing from her frequently when she debriefs with me about her day.

  4. So, did you find out that there’s a fat rat squatting and doing his business from the abandoned phone line in the garage? I wonder who pays the bills? I’ll bet that’s why he called 911! Shylock CATS with baseball bats coming to collect, I presume.

    BTW, didn’t the cops know there was no one on the line? What description did the 911 operator dispatch? I do understand and appreciate that they did respond to the call. Entering the premises is always questionable though-it may be covered under “probable cause.”

    I don’t blame you for freaking out one bit. Especially in these times, when a nightmare or two on the distortion of our 4th and 14th Amendments are frequent nocturnal visitors.

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