"I had a kid call from in the middle of the woods not knowing exactly where he was. He and his father were out walking in the woods one fall day, but I never got the full story. A tree randomly fell on his father's head, killing him instantly.
The boy was about 13 years old or so at the time called 911, and was freaking out. I advised him on what to do and walked him through CPR. He told me there was blood gushing out the back of his father's head.
The father was dead and I was trying to keep the boy calm and make him feel like he at least tried to save his dad. I stayed on the line with him for about 15 minutes until the medics got there.
He cried and cried, was confused as to where he was, and then he said the worst thing I've ever heard:
'Don't leave me, Daddy. I can't do this yet without you. You can't leave now.' He just kept saying that over and over again.
I'm a young guy and this just wrecked me that day. I had to step out and take a walk."
"I was training a new dispatcher and listening to their calls when they get an open line cellphone call, and all I could hear was the sound of multiple kids crying and yelling at someone to stop, then a male voice yelling at them to shut up. A female voice was trying to reason with the male, 'Come on, baby, let's just go in the other room. Let's make love. It's okay.'
The male was screaming that he was going to kill everyone there and then himself. Because the call came from a cell phone, we didn't have an exact address as you'd get with a landline. We thought we found the relative address when one of our coworkers said that they received a call from a kid that snuck out the window and called from a neighbor's house. I told my trainee to listen and put in the notes everything we're hearing. The police got there, and we could hear the male (who has been screaming at everyone) suddenly get quiet and go, 'Oh no, the cops are here. Everyone shut up. Stop crying.'
We then heard him answer the door and like a switch flipped and he calmly talked to the officers, 'Oh, hello. What's going on, officers?'
The guy did end up having a weapon that he could have used to kill everyone and himself, just like he was screaming about. They arrested him. In the end, the female declined to press charges, and he didn't get any real jail time. But listening to those kids screaming and crying and begging him to 'stop hurting her' still gets me."
"I had a female caller who said she was eight months pregnant, and her elderly mother had been at her house helping her with her other children for a couple of days.
The female caller took her mom home to find her elderly father on the floor not breathing. I walked her through how to perform CPR. The mom wasn't able to help and was just wailing in the background. The pregnant woman was huffing and puffing trying to save her dad. The mom and dad lived out in the county and EMS were about 15 minutes out.
We got through about 600 compressions (sounds like a lot but its protocol for unwitnessed cardiac arrests), and it was time for the mouth to mouth. I told her how to do them and she finally cried out: 'I can't.'
Up until now, she had been very willing so I asked why.
Her response: 'There are bugs coming out of his mouth.' I don't know why she neglected to tell me he was in stages of decay. And after that, she lost it."
"There are so many calls I remember and so many that I don't.
I've been a dispatcher for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for eight years and honestly, you get so many bad and good calls that they all seem to blur together.
I'm not allowed to give exact details, but one of my worst calls was from a little boy; I think he was 5 years old. He was hiding in his closet because his dad was wasted and beating the ever loving daylights out of his mom. He lived in a rural area and it was about an hour drive from the nearest police detachment. I stayed on the phone with him for almost 45 minutes trying to keep him calm. I literally talked about anything that popped into my head. The weather. Favorite TV shows. His favorite toys. All the while, you could plainly hear a woman screaming and crying in the background, and as the call went on, I could still hear the guy beating her, but her screams turned into grunts and moans. I couldn't tune it out because I was constantly typing what I heard. Any details I could get from background noise was valuable to the officers attending.
The police got there, arrested the piece of human scum, and I hung up once the kid was safe.
And then the phone rang again. Because there is no stopping. There's no time to process what just happened and honestly, it's probably for the best. A lot of the time you don't find out the outcome of the call because as I said, there are always more phones ringing."
"Worst call for me, by far, was the gentleman who was in his driveway in his big SUV waiting to pull out onto the road. A group of little girls was walking by and he waited. When he thought they were through, he backed up and ended up running over one of them. The neighbors immediately began CPR. Why they had him call 911 himself, I don't know, but I'm thankful he used a landline because I don't think I would have been able to get the address out of him. He was beside himself, hollering and screaming that 'she's dead, oh my god, she's dead' over and over. The little girl didn't make it. Later that evening, I got a 911 call from his wife -- he attempted suicide."
"My mother works as a dispatcher for a local police department.
A little under 30 years ago, a really bad storm rolled through. Thunder, lightning, hail, heavy rain, the whole shebang. The storm, once it hit our area, intensified and formed a downburst. The downburst ripped through the border of our town and the neighboring town, ultimately hitting an elementary school and knocking down the wall of the cafeteria where, at the time, students were eating lunch.
The storm knocked out power to the entire area. Thinking quickly, my mother ran out to the mobile command unit (a big bus used by the police department for major incidents), fired up the generator, and began dispatching from the bus.
A few children, unfortunately, passed away from the incident, and the incident is still something that we have a memorial for each year. She always said this was the worst call of her career."
"I am not a 911 operator, but I did have to call 911 when my 4-year-old went missing.
We live on a seven-acre farm and our house sits at the front of the property. Behind our house is the shop, then the grain bins, then our hog operation.
I was cleaning our can out and turned out to my 4-year-old daughter not playing where I last heard her. I called her name and literally searched EVERYWHERE. I went into the house and looked in all the rooms and her favorite hiding spots, not there. Ran out to the shop, she was not there either. Then I panicked and ran to where the pigs are and saw no signs of her. I then called my husband, he left the field and rushed home. We looked for over 10 minutes before I broke down crying and called 911. I absolutely have to give credit to our dispatcher and our local sheriff's office. It took about 15 minutes to get to our house from town, and they were there within eight minutes while I was on the phone.
As soon as I saw the officer, I looked over to where we kept our pig feed and saw two little eyes peeking over the top of the trough. She hid when she thought was in trouble. I know the dispatcher and she said she cried when she heard we found our little girl."
"My cousin is a 911 operator. She has told me her worst call was when her brother called in. He came home to find an intruder in his garage. He had his sidearm aimed at the intruder when he called 911.
Everything was going well, then she heard a bang and a scuffle. She thought either her brother was killed or that he had just killed someone, and her stomach dropped.
It was quite scary for her because the cops got there and picked up the phone and told her they were there and hung up. She didn't learn what happened until her brother finally called back."
"One that sticks with me is a 14-year-old girl that called the police for a disturbance. The officers showed up and everything seemed average. Her parents advised the reporting party that she was upset because she wasn't allowed to go out with her boyfriend. The officers were getting ready to leave after being there for 40 minutes but something seemed off to them.
The two officers took the 14-year-old outside and near their patrol units to speak to her. While they were walking outside, the girl's mother, stepfather, and two sisters went and stood on the porch to see if they could see what was going on. They were unable to hear due to the officers and the girl being on the other side of the street. It was then when the stepfather started pacing and went inside. The girl broke down and told the officers that her stepdad has been violating her for years and he didn't want her to go see her boyfriend because he was jealous.
The officers looked up and at that moment, they saw the stepfather shoot the mother in the back of the head. He proceeded to shoot the reporting party's older sister in the chest and her younger sister in the leg as they started running away. One officer returned fire while the other was shielding the reporting party. The stepfather ran inside and barricaded himself. The reporting party told the officer that her two brothers were inside with the stepfather. Back up arrived and surrounded the home.
The officers made forced entry after they heard shots from inside. They stormed the residence and found the stepfather had shot himself in the head with his two biological sons in the same room.
The mother died instantly, the older sister died instantly, the younger sister was hospitalized (I don't know if she made it, just know she was flown to a hospital miles away.) This 14-year-old lost her family. Later, the investigators were taking her statement and her only reply was, 'Last time I tried to tell someone the truth, I lost my family, doesn't matter what I say. I'm alone now.'
It took hours to get in contact with the family. Eventually, we were able to get in touch with her grandparents and she left with them.
I think about this kid a lot and hope she is okay."
"I was a dispatcher for animal control and had a call where a toddler was left alone in the backyard with two dogs. A neighbor kid saw the dogs eating kid's face, called his parents, and parents called us. Once officers arrived, the kid had already been dead a few hours and the parents were nowhere to be found.
Another call was about a frantic man who sounded out of breath wanting Animal Control because his dog turned on him and was attacking him. He told me he was currently wrestling the dog. I heard a yell, some loud pops, some silence, and then the man came back on the phone and said he had just shot his dog.
Last crazy call is when an old lady said that stray cats were coming into her bedroom at night and would bite and scratch her as she slept. Once Animal Control arrived, the house was a mess and the bites were coming from rats that were in her walls and in her mattress."
"I will never forget the night my firefighter died on me. I had been dispatching for three years at this point in my career and nothing of note had happened.
Then one night, we dispatched a house fire like normal. We sent cops and firefighters, then one of my guys fell through the floor when the house collapsed. I immediately dispatched every fire crew in town more ambulances and more officers. I did everything I could to help that man. But I will never forget listening to that man's screams over the radio as he burned alive."
"Part of my time in the military was as the only 911 dispatcher for the air base and the surrounding area. My very first unsupervised shift we had an F/A 18 crash into the nearby residential area. It was a nightmare scenario from start to finish. A grandmother, mother, and two young children were killed in the house that it crashed into. I received the call from the son/husband/father who had just lost everything important in his life, and had to try to get him to calm down enough so I could walk him through triaging and tending to his family while he waited outside the remains of his house for the army of first responders to get on scene. That was a very long, very trying day for everybody involved.
Another time, a call came in for an unresponsive child in base housing and because I was the patrol supervisor, it was assigned to me. I showed up one minute before the paramedics, and the guy that was home didn't seem all that distressed, more just defeated and annoyed. He took me to the 4-month-old who was pale, barely breathing, and completely unresponsive. When the paramedics got to the scene, they took one look at the kid and almost immediately loaded him into the ambulance and go flying off to the hospital.
It turns out what had happened was the piece of scum father was playing 'Call of Duty' while his wife was at school, and he was annoyed and frustrated at his infant son for crying so much while he was playing so he shook him so hard that he severed his spinal cord and caused internal bleeding in his brain. The baby died the next morning in the hospital. He also had a 2-year-old son that was upstairs playing and asked us where they were taking his brother. The father was sentenced to 20 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter and two counts of child abuse causing great bodily injury.
Later on in my career, I was conducting a 'Health and Safety' check on a Marine that was in the process of separating from the service at the end of his contract. He was scheduled to be attending a week-long separations course that is supposed to teach you how to smoothly transition into civilian life and help get benefits set up.
Like many things in the military, that separations course often was less important than doing your day job and 'supporting the mission,' so people not showing up as scheduled was no cause for alarm. I was the Patrol Supervisor working on a Friday afternoon sometime in August when we got a call from the Marine's squadron asking us to go check his room because apparently he had never shown up to the class and was not at work the entire week. They had assumed he was where he was supposed to be, and the separations class assumed that he had to skip the class and was at work. Remember this is the middle of August, in southern California, in the infamously terrible Marine Corps barracks where A/C is something to look at, not something that actually works. The way these barracks are laid out is there are two individual rooms with heavy metal doors with a shared common area and bathroom, and then another heavy metal door to access the outside of the building.
His roommate was on leave, otherwise, we would have gotten a call a lot sooner. The moment we opened the first door, we knew what had happened to the guy. Sometime Sunday night or Monday morning, he had hanged himself in his closet and then baked all week in the 95-degree weather. A human body generates a lot of gasses and fluids when it decomposes, which can violently leave the body if it is shifted or disturbed, like say by cutting it down while hanging. Let me tell you, death is a smell that does not wash out of clothes. We burned them all."
"A lady called and said she was talking to her friend on Facebook. Her friend made some suicidal comments, then went dark.
She didn't have any other way to contact the man beside Facebook, so she decided to call for help. 'I think he lives in XXXX or YYYY.' Both of which were in another county. I got his name (common name) and approximate age, and began digging, wanting to make sure I knew who they needed to find before I called the neighboring county.
I went hard. I ended up finding a possible candidate with an address. I called the neighboring agency and explained the situation and asked for a recent number for the address, and told them if it's right I'll transfer it.
I called the number, got an old lady and asked, 'Is this the residence of [the guy's name],' and she explained that it was her son, and if I hung on a second, she would get him. She walked into his room to find him completely out of it. I told her to look around and tell me what she saw. She found an empty pill bottle, which was no surprise. I stayed on the line until neighboring county EMS got there, then got off the phone feeling like Superman.
I would've been well within my rights to refer this lady to that agency at the very start, and not dig at all, but I made sure we had the right address and that help got there because I wanted to do right by my caller.
The next day, I picked up the phone and heard that the neighboring county didn't commit him despite him downing a bottle of pills, so he shot himself. I nearly walked out."
"I am not a 911 operator, but I am a search and rescue coordinator for the Coast Guard. I'm on the receiving end of taking distress calls. Mostly they are minor cases but occasionally we get a heart breaking one.
My first summer as an operator, we had a troller captain call us on the radios asking for our landline number. He then called us. He began to tell us that his first mate was missing on the boat. That his wallet, keys, and phone were still in his cabin room. But he was no where to be seen. So we put him on hold briefly to gather more questions to ask him as this was unique. That brief moment of being on hold for this man, he realized what had happened and he lost it. This man was hysterical. It broke my heart hearing this man cry.
Long story short, the kid was located. He fell overboard and drowned. His working attire caused him to sink. That was a difficult case because emotions were so high."
"I have been an EMT for the past four years, and my worst call was also my first call. It went something like this:
Dispatch: 'We have received a report of crying and screaming coming from a van at X address, deputies are in route.'
When we arrived on the scene, we found about 11 patrol cars and seven construction workers seriously beat by every deputy we could see. One deputy had his sidearm in one of the construction worker's mouths screaming that he was going to blow his brains out while another deputy was trying to talk him out of it.
My partner and I looked around and found a female deputy holding a 6-year-old girl in her arms, the girl was wrapped in a blanket so we couldn't immediately see her body but her face seemed swollen and bruised.
After running over, we asked the female deputy what happened, and she proceeded to explain the incident with tears running down her face.
These seven workers were working construction near a relatively wealthy neighborhood when they spotted a young girl playing by herself in the woods behind her house. They had just finished working for the day and everyone else on the site had already left, so they enticed the little girl over to them where they drag her into a windowless white van and proceeded to take turns violating this little girl for three hours.
No one heard her cries at first because a major highway was less than 100 meters from the site, but once rush hour died down, her screams were heard by some neighbors. Because of how small she was, and how violently she was assaulted, she was bleeding internally.
After giving an extremely quick assessment, we realized this girl had maybe minutes left so we loaded her and the deputy into the ambulance and made a 15-minute drive to the hospital in five minutes. The girl survived, but it took eight surgeries to save her life."