The Curious Incident of the Cops in the Night-Time
Topic: Indianapolis Living
What’s worse than being awakened by pounding at your front door at 3:30 in the morning? Being awakened by pounding at your front door at 3:30 in the morning by two police officers.
As I stumbled down the stairs my emotions turned from sleep-drunk baffled to decidedly disconcerted at the glimpse of two Indy’s finest shining their “why carry a nightstick when you have these?” flashlights in my face. After quickly running through my mental checklist of whether I had done anything arrest-worthy in the past 48 hours, then deciding not, then wondering if one of our unassuming neighbors was running a meth lab or some sort of “Silence of the Lambs” deal in their basement and we were innocently getting caught up in the sting, then deciding not, I opened the door. At this point I was more curious than worried.
As it turns out, they had received a dropped 911 call from our number, and were following up to make sure that no one was gasping their last breath under dangling and bloodied phone cord, Tony Soprano-style. I was quizzed about whether anyone had been using the computer, and perhaps had accidentally dialed 911 via our modem. “Um, well, it’s just me and the dog, and she’s not that smart, and IT’S 3:30 IN THE MORNING!” They were as perplexed as I was, and chalked it up to some sort of weird phone glitch. I had to wonder what my neighbors were thinking, what with the flashing lights on top of the cruisers, the “cchh, cchh” of the police radio, and the questioning session on my front porch. Domestic disturbance? Break in? No one ever asked. They were probably sleeping, being that it was 3:30 in the morning.
So, here’s the weird thing. This happened about six months ago. Isolated incident. No big deal, right? Well, last night it happened AGAIN, like some sort of surreal bad dream Déjà vu. Same time, same loud banging on the front door, same men in blue on my front porch. This time, however, Dave was in town and so could share the adventure with me, and being an old hat at the “cops at the front door” thing, I was less freaked out. We went through the same Q&A dance on the front porch, with equal amounts of shoulder shrugging all around.
Their only advice to us was, “Maybe you should get a new phone number.”
Now, here are my two concerns.
- How did they know that we didn’t have some poor soul tied up in a closet somewhere who had managed to loosen the ropes just enough to reach the phone and dial 911 before we discovered him and knocked him unconscious with the butt end of our Henckels meat cleaver? How do they know we weren’t just acting the bleary-eyed yuppie innocents? They just seemed to take us at our word. Do they have classes for police officers where they learn to ferret out deception? I guess I’m glad that they didn’t start rooting around our house in the middle of the night, but it does give one pause.
- I’m afraid that we’ll become the house who phoned wolf. What if we have a real emergency at 3:30 some morning? What if the police see the address and so, “Oh, that house again. Don’t worry about it. It’s just a phone glitch.” I die with a piece of apple stuck in my throat, all because of their screwed up phone system.
I’m all for this not happening again. It’s never fun to have police officers at your door, particularly for no good reason, and particularly at 3:30 in the morning. I lost a good night’s sleep (that adrenaline kick keeps you awake for a while) and while I do appreciate their taking the time to make sure everything was okay, the whole thing was a waste of their time. I’d rather have them patrolling the streets for bad guys rather than following up on phantom 911 calls. I’m not even sure who I’d call to report on this problem in a way that would lead to a useful resolution. Any ideas?
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