Did you know that dialing any combination of 9-1-1 connects you to a 911 operator? It’s true.
For instance, if, let’s say, you are a nine year-old kid and your mom has a cell phone that has a 914 area code and you live in an 845 area code, when calling her from your home phone, you have to dial 1 (for long distance) 9-1-4… to reach her. At nine years-old, you may not be too land-line savvy. You might be a little slow on the dialing or you don’t always remember the “4” fast enough because you have to remember the 1 at the beginning. If there is any hesitation in getting to the 4, just dialing the 1-9-1 combination connects you to 911. And if you’re nine, no matter how many times this happens, you just think the call isn’t going through so you hang up and try again. While you’re trying again, the 911 operator is calling you back to make sure everything is “Okay” but you’re not answering the second line because you are calling your mom again on the first line, remember?
Did you also know, that when you don’t answer a 911 operator’s call back, in New York at least, they automatically send law enforcement to your house. And when they come to your house, in addition to making sure everything is “Okay“, they request to see and speak with the 911 caller.
How do I know this?
They’ve been coming to my house for years. It used to be once or twice a year since the time my son was a toddler and would find his way into our basement office and “play” with the fax machine. I never heard the return call on the fax machine from the 911 operator so, a police officer would be dispatched to our house. It took three visits before we figured out it was the toddler and the fax machine. I used to think it was only local police that responded to 911 calls but lately, it’s been a NYS Trooper. And over the past several months, the Troopers have come to our home so often, that last month when the Trooper pulled up in front of our house and my son saw him from the bay window in our living room, he simply called out:
“Hannah! Someone’s here to see you!”
Yes, it’s my nine year-old Hannah, who is responsible for our more recent meet and greets. It seems that nearly every time she tries to call my 9-1-4 cell phone, a NYS Trooper ends up at our door. No kidding!
And as of this month, it’s not just our door either!
A few weeks ago, when I went to pick up Hannah at school, I noticed a State Trooper pulling out of the parking lot as I was pulling in. I’d say that would raise a curious eye brow for any parent picking up their kid but it was me who the “porch” teacher met at my car. He came bearing the news that after trying to call me from the school phone unsuccessfully, 911 was accidentally called by my daughter. Hence the State Trooper, who apparently had a “nice little chat” with Hannah. This, was so not surprising. And it’s probably a really good thing that I work there three days a week.
I think it’s important to nurture a sense of independence in children. I think they should feel they can be trusted and shown that you have confidence in them. And it’s only in the past several months that we’ve felt comfortable enough to resume moving forward in this effort. So, I was pleased when Hannah opted to stay home alone for the 6 minutes it would take me to drive my son to his tennis lessons and come back, about a week ago.
Ah, I should have known. I hadn’t even shut the door behind me after returning when I glanced over my shoulder and saw the all too familiar, navy blue vehicle with yellow lettering pull up onto my front lawn.
“Hannah?”, I called inside the door, “Any idea why the State Troopers would be coming to our house?”
“Oh, um, yeah” she said, “that could be me.”
Between the tennis run last Friday and a quick jaunt to the post office a little later this week, the Troopers were at my house, twice. Yes, that’s twice in one week’s time.
I wonder if calls from our house are somewhat expected now or have become part of the training program for the new guys? A different Trooper comes every time. The last fellow that came was awfully, young. I suspect it’s also possible that our address has been “red flagged” for other reasons. Either way, it is always a State Trooper and, they come fast!
I never get rattled though, when I see a Trooper pull up to my house. In fact, I don’t think it’s the worst thing for my neighbors to see the company I keep. Besides, I find things like a 6ft cardboard cut-out of a vampire and NYS Troopers at my front door, comforting these days.
I also happen to be a bit partial to NYS Troopers and to one in particular, whom I will forever be indebted.
To all the other Troopers that are perhaps, taking turns coming to my house, meeting and speaking to my Hannah, I thank you for your service to our community and most especially, to my family.