Call 911, Get a Runaround

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do, if it happens to be supported where you live. It apparently isn’t everywhere. Aleknagik break-in puts lack of local law enforcement in spotlight.

A woman notices a man “climbing a ladder” toward her kitchen window. She bangs on the window to let him know the house is occupied and calls 911.

But when Moore got through to the operator, she was told the Dillingham police department couldn’t dispatch officers to the lake.

“I was given the trooper number, so I called the trooper and those calls at night are dispatched out to a different community,” Moore said. “So he then tried to get ahold of the on-call trooper in Dillingham who was unfortunately out of town, and he was in King Salmon.”

As Moore juggled calls between the troopers and people who lived close by, she stood at the top of her stairs, pointing a gun down the steps. At one point, she heard glass shattering and started yelling again.

This is Alaska, and on a website that says “Rural Alaska.” But I think you would want to know if 911 is available in your area, and not just assume.

“And that’s a frustrating feeling because we’re raised to call 911,” she said.

Gee, a government program that doesn’t work quite as well as advertised. Color me shocked.

Even in a city, in the lower 48, the cops are not going to arrive instantly. You might still find yourself pointing a gun down the stairs, or wishing you could.

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do, but you should know if it is going to work before an emergency presents itself. And even if it is available in your area, doesn’t mean that people won’t make mistakes, that other emergencies might come ahead of you, or just good-ole lack-of-resources to get to you. At least get to you in a reasonable time.