I was working the phones while we were in the middle of an extended major emergency. The department was recalled and on modified shifts, the National Guard was out in the community doing work, and schools and businesses were closed. We were basically on the brink of chaos. Crime wise things had slowed down, I guess even criminals have some respect for a State of Emergency. To be fully honest I was getting a little bored, I don’t do well when things slow down.
This was another slow day and I was hoping for some excitement. I was harassing my partner saying I wanted something big to come in. Give me a shoot out, a bank robbery, an explosion, a building fire with people trapped! Anything!
The 911 phone rang, in the back of my head I thought maybe the universe heard me and this was the big one!
Me: “911, what’s the address of your emergency?”
Caller: “Well, I’m not sure this an emergency but I couldn’t get a hold of Animal Control and this is really worrying me.”
(Me thinking oh great, absolutely not “The Big One”)
Me: “Ok, what’s going on?”
Caller: “Well, there is a turkey in a tree. He’s like WAY up there. I don’t know how he got there because there’s no branches down low. So I think someone put him up there. And, like, I’m really worried that he’s stuck and can’t get down.”
Me: “A turkey sir?”
Caller: “Yeah! He’s huge! I feel so bad! I have no idea how long he’s been up there!”
(Me unsuccessfully remaining professional and breaking out in laughter)
Me: “Sir, turkeys are bird. Birds fly. He probably just flew up there.”
Caller: “Wait, really? They don’t look like they can fly! Are you sure?”
Me: “I’m positive sir. You should look up some videos, it’s pretty funny to see.”
Ride The Pine is a new special feature written by a veteran dispatcher using the pseudonym Jacob Tyrell. Tyrell has been a dispatcher in a larger US city and seen it all over the years. Some of the series will be serious, some funny, and hopefully a little educational. All of the names, phrases, locations, and agency specific information has been changed (and is constantly mixed up) for anonymity.