To the Police Who Responded to My 911 Call Last Night, Thank You
I woke up at 2:30 last night/early this morning to my dog Rosie barking furiously.
I fumbled around for my glasses, jumped out of bed and hurried into the living room. "It's ok!," I said, sitting down on the couch next to her. "Shhh, it's ok." She kept growling, though, looking out the window towards a house just down the street. Our 2.5 year old mix isn't a jumpy dog, and her senses have proven pretty reliable in the past. Sure enough, she jumped off the couch and ran first to one window, then another, looking out and continuing to growl. I looked harder into the darkness towards the house she was indicating. Because of its location between the street lights and hidden behind giant, years-old trees in front, it was hard to see anything in the shadows. I stared hard.
What was that?
I thought I saw something move under the front window. I peered harder. It looked like a person...no, wait, two people. Are they climbing in the window? Are they breaking in? Do they live there? Am I making all this up?
In a split second, I decided to call 911. I didn't want to be wrong and call the police out for no reason. But what if I was right and something bad was happening or about to happen...?
I ran back into the bedroom, grabbed my cellphone and dialed 911.
"What's the address of your emergency?" the dispatcher asked. I gave her my address. "What's your emergency?" I explained that I'd just woken up to my dog barking, and I thought I'd seen someone moving suspiciously around a house across the street. I felt a little foolish saying that without any more tangible proof. She took my details and assured me that law enforcement were on the way.
By now, my wife had come out from the bedroom and joined me. She'd overhead the phone call with 911, and we watched the house together. I tried to explain what I thought I'd seen, but there was no more movement across the street. No more than two minutes later, two squad cars sped quietly down the street -- lights low, no sirens or flashing lights -- and stopped in front of the house. I watched as an officer in the lead vehicle got out and approached the house. Suddenly, I felt afraid for him. I was watching as someone I'd called for was literally walking into the dark, into potential danger. What if someone was hiding there in the shadows? What if something bad was happening inside the house or about to? Despite my own fears, the officer walked confidently and calmly, flashing his powerful flashlight around in quick bursts to reveal the property. He made his way around the front, made his way down the driveway and around back. After a time, he returned to his vehicle.
Nothing. No one jumped out of the shadows. No gunfire erupted, and no screams pierced the night.
He climbed into his vehicle and drove past the house and down the street; the second squad car turned at my house and went past in another direction. Continuing to watch the street, I then saw the first squad car turn around, turn its brights on -- casting light all up and down the street and on the houses on either side -- and quickly pass by again. Still nothing.
I followed my wife back to bed, but it was some time before I fell back asleep.
I feel foolish for the whole thing now. Should I have called the non-emergency number instead? Did I just waste valuable emergency response resources and personnel? Was I even sure of what I saw? What about Rosie barking? I'm sure she saw or heard something out there on the street. It's easy to doubt myself now, but in the moment I kept wondering, "What if...?"
What I do know is, I appreciate our law enforcement, perhaps now more than ever.
It's a tough time to be a police officer. Or sheriff. Maybe even National Guard or military or any other law enforcement agency. I know there's a lot of unrest around the state and country right now and a lot of scrutiny towards those who have sworn an oath to protect and serve. I'm not here to stir up more trouble for them. But I will say that I appreciate them. I respect them and am grateful for the work they do. I'm grateful for the ones who respond to calls at 2:30 in the morning from fearful, cautious neighbors like me. I'm grateful for the ones who walk bravely into the dark, prepared to face whatever they may find. I'm grateful for the men and women who continue to return to their oath-sworn duties, knowing full-well that the people they've sworn to protect and serve may not trust, appreciate or value them in return.
I am not one of those people. To the officers who responded to my 911 call last night, I say thank you. - Adam