Is it EVER useful to call 911


July 2, 2003, 02:51 PM
I've been thinking about this. Obviously, you have to call the cops if somebody is shot. But if you simply scare off intruders or defuse the situation (esp. with a firearm) what possible good can ever come from calling the cops or reporting the incident to them? Best case scenario they do little or nothing. Worst case they decide to investigate *you*.

I doubt I would even call the cops if shots were fired but missed. That seems to be the prevailing attitude where I live now. I didn't USED to feel that way, but I've heard so many stories about cops turning against armed citizens. I also know how the system works, and I know the cops are not really there to protect you, but to look for someone to prosecute.

Will someone remind me, why do we have cops, anyway?

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July 2, 2003, 03:04 PM
When the police arrive on the scene of an altercation, they are looking for the reportee (the guy who called in)
the victim (the good guy, the one who was wronged), and
the perpetrator (the bad guy, the one who was at fault).
This may be three separate people, or it may be two people with the role of the victim and of the reportee belonging to the same person. All cops know in their bones that the perpetrator never calls in because bad guys don't like dealing with Johnny Law.

If you are involved in an altercation and do not call in, the best you can hope for is that the bad guy doesn't, either. If the bad guy calls in, the responding officer will believe that you are the bad guy and treat you accordingly. (Remember, the one who calls in is the good guy in the minds of the responding officers.) If this happens, the police report will be slanted against you and you may be hauled in, in handcuffs, rather than being treated as an upstanding citizen who justly defended himself.

It costs money to fix that kind of mistake, and an unfavorable police report is hard to get past if the whole thing goes to trial.


July 2, 2003, 03:19 PM
Good point. I'm starting to really wonder about my last question, though. Why DO we have them?

July 2, 2003, 03:26 PM
cuz some people dont want to defend themselves?

i have heard that depending on the amount of calls of various areas will determine the amount of patrolls an more personnel in the .......High Risk? .......areas.

July 2, 2003, 03:27 PM
Is it EVER useful to call 911

Yup. Has saved me from serious trouble.

July 2, 2003, 03:41 PM
Sure it is! Here are some examples:

1. Cat stuck up in the tree

2. Neighbor's grass is too tall

3. You locked yourself out of your house

4. There are aliens peeking into your windows

5. The TV remote is missing

6. Any others ...?


July 2, 2003, 03:46 PM
Pax nailed it - "Thrice blest is he who gets his blow in fust!" If you don't call it in, the BG may very well do so, and thus he automatically becomes the White Knight in the eyes of the law. You have just become the Black Knight - and when the cops come to ask you some pointed questions, and you deny their implications, but are carrying a gun, guess what the cops are going to think - and do???

If we've acted within the law, we should submit to the scrutiny of the law. To avoid doing so always gives the impression of acting illegally. There's a guy in the prison where I work, doing five-to-ten on a firearms charge, who I believe is telling the truth when he states that he was defending himself against a teenage would-be mugger. No shots were fired, the BG went away, and he simply went about his business rather than report the incident. Unfortunately for him, three witnesses in surrounding apartments reported that they'd seen a White man holding up a Black youth, at gunpoint - and two of them noted the make, model, color and registration of the guy's car as he drove away. Next thing he knew, he was felony-stopped on the road, handcuffed, jailed, and in due course, sentenced for assault with a deadly weapon. And all because he didn't dial 911...

July 2, 2003, 03:57 PM
Most 911 calls are taped (evidence with controlled custody). Identify yourself and the threat. If necessary, establish that you are at risk, if you're armed and where you are, what you look like. This could be very helpful to you or your widow in court someday.

Zach S
July 2, 2003, 03:59 PM
I doubt I would even call the cops if shots were fired but missed. Its a good idea too. If you were an LEO, how you you approach a house where shots were fired and that was the only info you had? Could be a pretty bad scenerio. I didnt call 911 though, i called the locals directly, to aviod being on hold...

July 2, 2003, 04:03 PM
"If we've acted within the law, we should submit to the scrutiny of the law."

I'm afraid I don't agree with that at all. The law should leave us alone unless we're harming someone else. Certainly, the notion that innocent men have nothing to fear from law enforcement is naive and dangerous. However, I do see the point about being the one who calls first in case the goblin makes the report.

July 2, 2003, 04:08 PM
Basically, there are a lot of good responses here that reinforce my decision to move to a remote parcel in Alaska, build a very high fence, surround myself with guard dogs and remove myself from the grid with no phone number and no address. By the time anyone gets to me, they will have to have have busted the fence and killed the dogs, at which point I will not hesitate to open up on them with everything I have.

Of course, with my luck they'll be a SWAT team sent in on some neighbor's report that there's a strange guy behind a tall fence with a bunch of guard dogs and he's growing *something* in there :D

Let's face it, the modern world already is a police state.

Sean Smith
July 2, 2003, 04:15 PM
I'm surprised nobody has said this....

SOMEBODY has to get rid of the body, and it ain't going to be ME! :D

Mike Irwin
July 2, 2003, 04:19 PM
Sure. Someone has to come and cart away the bodies...

July 2, 2003, 04:22 PM
Basically, there are a lot of good responses here that reinforce my decision to move to a remote parcel in Alaska, build a very high fence, surround myself with guard dogs and remove myself from the grid with no phone number and no address.

Cosmoline, you and I must be related somewhere way back along the way

Or else, we suffer from the same ailment.


I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it :)

July 2, 2003, 04:23 PM
My call to 911 saved my friend's life, FWIW.

July 2, 2003, 04:24 PM
Even if you scared off the bad guy, you are technically a crime victim and you should report the incident.

Non-reporting is why government defensive-use stats are so low. *Make* the cops record the fact that you used your gun in self-defense.

July 2, 2003, 04:25 PM
Bodies? No problem. Just have a few pigs around, don't feed them for a few days, and *presto* no more troubles.

July 2, 2003, 04:45 PM
The good guys don't always win armed encounters unscathed.

I don't think that those with access to 911 services would have this attitude if they were bleeding-out after an injury.

July 2, 2003, 04:47 PM
Bodies? No problem. Just have a few pigs around, don't feed them for a few days, and *presto* no more troubles.
Someone has been watching too many movies. Snatch maby. :D

Calling the cops are usefull some times.
I was standing on the sidewalk on a bridge that was closed for traffic, and a motorcycle came ON the sidewalk.
He forced himself passed me, bumping me with the handlebar.
I did something stupid, I kicked the cycle!
Oh, he got mad allright!
I figured I didn't want to have anything to do with him, so I punched the emergency number on my phone, but did not push dial, to give him one more chance.
He was still agitated and threatening, so I pushed dial.
The cops answered, I told them where I was and that a motorcycle had just hit me on the sidewalk...
I described him and the cycle, licence plate and everything.
The driver got more and more agitated. :D
The cop told me to hang on, and I could hear him talking to someone.
10 sec later we could hear the sirens.
The driver of the motorcycle took off, and I told the cops the direction, and that I wasn't hurt.
First then did I tell my name, as I didn't want the guy to hear my name.

Nothing more happened, but I guess the guy got a "little" nervous. :uhoh:

I know I did something dumb in the heat of the moment, but he was waaay out there legaly.

July 2, 2003, 04:53 PM
Another reason to call 911 and something else to consider...

It appears that most of us here take the responsiblity of protecting themselves and their loved ones quite seriously, and that is as it should be.

It is also our resonsiblity to do everything that we can to make sure that we come out on TOP of a bad scenario and that includes what will happen after the scenario is over.

If possible and time permits, call 911. This is a legal record, and will be presented in court in the event that you had to cap somebody, use force or whatever. What it will prove is that you tired to do the right thing, and this fact is not lost upon judges, prosecuting attorneys and jurys.

I can think of several incidents here in my hometown that the records of the call were used and played in court, to the benefit of those that called first, then acted. In cases where "fear for life" was stated, it has been argued that if the complainant truly feared for their life, they would have called 911. Now we all know that that could be totally bogus, but you have to understand that scum sucking lawers will make an issue of it, and if their are some sheeple on the jury then it will cause them to ponder aand become more suspicous of the motives.

On the other hand, if you called, the cops were enroute, and you capped someone before they got there, it will go to your advantage if you did take the time to call first.

Personally, I thinks that that's about all 911 does, is back up your story so to speak. In my part of the county, you are looking at an average 30 minute response time, a lot of things can happen in 30 minutes.

Being a member of the local sheriffs dept, I know the things that can happen even if you call 911. You could get misrouted to the wrong adress, it make take the cops awhile to find it, you call may get put on hold if something more serious comes up. There are enough possible screwups that you need all of the advantage you can get.

As for my neck of the woods, we get shots fired calls all the time. Usally its someone shooting a possum in their trash, a stray dog or cat, or some kids plinking with the 22's. Of course there is hunting season which covers 7 months of the year here. Its always amusing to confront new residents from the big citys, that dont know that it may be perfectly legal to hunt across the street from their new house.

Occasionally, we'll even get a call that someone shot at an intruder in the barn or garage or horsestall. In most cases , the homeowner popped a 12 guage round up in the air to scare them. To me its no big deal. I dont get bent out of shape over it, the people are just protecting their turf.

As for the cops "turning" against armed citizens, thats more of a big city thing where the cops only encounter bad guys with guns. Personally, I think you're a silly SOB if you dont have a gun, but hey, that s just me. A cop needs all the friends hs can get theses days,why aleinate someone just becuase they've got a gun ? NOT the smart thing to do.

July 2, 2003, 05:04 PM
Well why do you think I have firearms? Zee Germans, of course :D

July 2, 2003, 05:09 PM
Well I started this thread on TFL: Has anyone ever been "saved" from a human threat by using 911 or cell phone?

July 2, 2003, 05:20 PM
If you have someone prowling your windows or back yard, or trying to enter your house, call.

When the cops show up, don't be wandering the street with your AK-47 and the 75 round drum magazine.... don't be in the "two doors down" neighbor's yard. Unless you are in hostile contact, stash your heater back in the secret gun place when so as be the innocent victim/reporting party.

If you are in hostile contact, make sure the cops can identify you from the bad guy, even if you have to put on a purple beret. (Presumably you'll be inside the house, but so might the hostile.... that's why you called.)

Make sure you are identifiable and obviously non-hostile to the cops.

July 2, 2003, 06:03 PM
"Is it EVER useful to call 911?"


You should always alert the proper authorities whenever you are witness to or or a victim of crime.

July 2, 2003, 06:09 PM
"or else", right?

Well, soon I won't have a phone, so it will be moot.

July 2, 2003, 06:13 PM
lotsa really good points here!

how bout free back up........

July 2, 2003, 07:33 PM
The Branch Davidians called 911...

July 2, 2003, 07:39 PM
That's right, they did! I had forgotten about that. Fat lot of good it did them.

Hopefully you won't be reading in the papers about the gun nut holed up in his "compound" in Alaska, surrounded by federales with ninja suits on :D

St. Gunner
July 2, 2003, 08:08 PM
I live at the end of a dead end road and get some traffic my neighbors and I wish would leave us alone. Needles, syringes, stuff like that. The used to like to come down the road and turn off into my drive to do their business. I live 150yds from the road, and the dogs go bezerk and they don't seem to care. My SOP is to dial 911 from the house on the cell, ask them to record the call, then simple slip the cellphone onto my belt, walk to the end of the driveway and with firearm in hand ask them to leave. One got sorta nasty one night, and the phrase, "Oh S&*# he has a gun" was recorded by 911. Of course I live in Texas and our rules regarding the threat of deadly force is pretty liberal, ok real liberal.:D My answer that night was simply, "And it won't be used unless you attack me." I figure I am not going to go and just blast someone without provocation, so all the call can be used for is for another record as to what happened. Course the deputies end up showing up later, normally in an hour or so, but all they usually do is ask me how I can be so calm when I am holding a gun in my hand. I just tell em I hold a gun in my hand all the time and it to me is about the same as holding a hammer.

Course I have an interesting story about my 911 call being recorded and me greeting the tax accessor with an AK. It was three days after a double homicide just down the street and this low rider truck with dark tinted windows pulls in and past my house to where I store my tools. One of my dogs is not letting this guy out so I go to greet him with my standard,

"May I help you?"


"Have you ever heard of knocking on a door, or phoning ahead?"


"I need to see your identification right this second. Just throw it out on the ground."



So he chunks it on the ground, little around the neck ID. I lean the gun against a nearby storage container.

"What do you think you are doing here?"

"I just came to see if these storage units where permanent or mobile."

"it is time for you to leave, you opened a posted gate, entered property without permission, and then didn't have the courtesy to knock on the door to announce your presence. Your job does not entitle you to enter posted property, you may from this point on do your assesment from the road."

"Yes sir."

I pick-up the phone and all I can hear is the 911 operator laughing his butt off. He finally calms down enough to ask if all is ok and I tell him it is,he asks then, "Suppose your taxes will go up?" "I guess we will find out." A deputy shows later and asks if I want to have the guy picked up for tresspass, he thought it was really funny. He said he figured you had to be an idiot to pull into a place uninvited when right in plain view from the road is a rifle range and steel human silohoutte targets scattered down it.

Course I find out the tax man ran down the street and called 911 on me, course they told him he was out of luck. My question in my mind has been, what would have happened if I hadn't done this? Instead the 911 operator got the whole story recorded, so it never was a case of my word against his, something that might be important to someone when you threaten deadly force and don't follow through.

July 2, 2003, 08:17 PM
St. Gunner--GREAT SOP Turn 911 on its head and use it as a personal, automatically authenticated record keeping device. Brilliant!

July 2, 2003, 08:31 PM
To solve Problem One, one should dial 1911

To avoid Problem Two, after performing the above, one should dial 911

ed dixon
July 2, 2003, 09:54 PM
Seems that some say it isn't the police's responsibility to act as an individual's primary defender or rescuer. And then in the next breath criticize the police for not being more effective at just that. Uh, maybe it ain't all that easy. How many volunteer to "protect" the elderly single with no close relations and not enough eyesight or reflexes left to be their own tough guy? Any police widows who read this thread will surely relate completely.

I know dedicated LEOs who've been tested many times, as well as many blowhards who just keep sharpening their pencils and saying how high they'd score. Yeah, those idiot firefighters never show up before the fire starts.

July 2, 2003, 10:16 PM
Awesome post, St. Gunner! I would be glad to have you as my neighbor any time!

July 3, 2003, 02:16 AM
St. Gunner, you rock! I must remember that when the meter-reader comes by... :D

July 3, 2003, 02:34 AM
ed dixon Damn credible post sir

Daniel T
July 3, 2003, 04:24 AM
I'm not sure how it is where y'all live, but 911 here also gets firefighters and EMS deployed.

Always call 911. I've seen way, way too many situations where the person who didn't call got charged with the crime.

St. Gunner
July 3, 2003, 11:19 AM
I must remember that when the meter-reader comes by...

Not a good idea, most of the time the electric company has an easment to enter the property, I signed one when I hooked the electric up with them, the water company, and propane. Course those folks always seem to be in uniform with ID displayed. This guy was in his personal vehicle with no markings to ID it as a county vehicle. I always joke that he has a heck of a story to tell around the water cooler about how dangerous it is to be a tax man. :rolleyes:

Seems that some say it isn't the police's responsibility to act as an individual's primary defender or rescuer.

Actually Mr. Dixon the courts have said as much, by not allowing police departments to be held accountable when someone is injured or killed because the police didn't respond on time. That isn't a slight of the police, but most of them I know around here will freely admit their work begins after the crime, it is your duty to get through that hell first. How many times have the police ever prevented a criminals first crime? According to the laws of our land, they are prohibited from such action and how would you know anyway?

How many volunteer to "protect" the elderly single with no close relations and not enough eyesight or reflexes left to be their own tough guy?

You just touched on one of the most severe crumbling aspects of our society, we refuse to help our fellow man. But the fact is, the police rarely do anymore than the rest of us. They end up being shot after the crime has been commited, just a fact of the nature of the job. You physically can't protect every citizen, it is an impossible mission, so they are forced to become the ones to sort it out after the action is done.

I wish everyone I knew would adopt their neighbors, I look out for mine as much as possible, but they rarely if ever return the favor. The only times I have ever seen a sheriff car on my road is when I have called for one. They simply don't have the resources to be out preventing crime. Frankly, I prefer it that way, because a society where the police are in sufficient numbers to deter crime would be a society closer to a police state and one where the people where kept in check by fear.

but 911 here also gets firefighters and EMS deployed.

Here EMS and Fire don't get dispatched until the police call for them or the caller says he has a medical emergency or a fire. If I call to report dope addicts shooting up, they don't call anyone but a deputy.

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