911 is a Joke


This is the complete message I received at 1:51 AM this morning. We also got a reverse 911 call on the landline (yes, I still have one of those, I use it for work), announcing a 12 year-old boy was missing. We got another call (and a similarly cryptic text) two hours later saying he’d been found. Someone needs to tell the 911 center that text messages are 160 characters long.

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30 replies
  1. 1
    Suffern ACE says:

    It seems they want to leave it up to you what assistance you will provide. You have a police department that just won’t push citizens around. I guess that’s superior to the kind if police force that declares states of emergency. You are in no danger of losing your freedom.

  2. 2
    c u n d gulag says:

    This is the nine-one-one center near you, texting to let you know that an armed and dangerous vicious murdering non-white terrorist is on the loose, and is believed to be hiding in your

  3. 3
    Chyron HR says:

    At least they used proper English, a feat that seems to elude 12-year-old girls and the entire GOP leadership.

  4. 4
    NotMax says:

    How nice that Vladimir and Estragon have seemingly obtained steady employment.

  5. 5
    MikeJ says:

    @Chyron HR:

    At least they used proper English

    Language exists to convey information. They fail where 12 year old girls succeed.

  6. 6
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Counsel for 12 year old girls on line 2, Chyron. Something about defamation.

  7. 7
    Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS) says:

    I have always labored under the impression that 911 was for *incoming* emergency calls. Do they really have enough manpower to be performing this other function? I’ve never heard of this before.

  8. 8
    NonyNony says:

    @Chyron HR:

    At least they used proper English



    Language exists to convey information.


    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Counsel for 12 year old girls on line 2


  9. 9
    Olivia says:

    You can tell them about the 160 character limit. You need to be the one.

  10. 10
    dr. bloor says:

    Someone’s in a mood this morning.

  11. 11
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS): Putting out BOLOs for endangered children or adults? The Sheriff’s dept where I live does that all day long.

    Hell yeah, sure beats telling the family they found their autistic brother dead in a ditch in the woods, plus processing the scene, expenses, etc.

  12. 12
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Mistermix, obviously your cell phone provider sucks. Mine will just split texts into chunks so I get the whole message.

    Also, they can’t use those cutesy abbreviations because their messages go out to landlines using something called “text to landline”. A humorless computer voice will attempt to convey EXACTLY what they have written.

  13. 13
    dr. bloor says:

    @Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS): It’s reverse 911. Takes as long to send out a message as it did for you to post your question.

  14. 14
    Another Halocene Human says:

    OT, sorta (as long as we’re discussing cops): Suffern Ace was spitting mad last night because the teevee snooze anchor claimed Jahar would benefit from our impartial court system. I share Ace’s indignance* but what really slays me is that I have never heard of a Massachusetts or any other Northeast court being truly impartial when an accused cop-killer** is in the dock. Really, bobbleheads, explain to me how that one works.

    *the dictionary says this is a word so there ha
    **not saying Mumia is innocent, or KA Powers got a bum rap, but … come on

  15. 15
    Booger says:

    @Another Halocene Human: I’d pay good money to hear that PD SEZ WHT?? OMG LOL BOLO YOLO HOMO ECCO AKA PDQ QED!!!

  16. 16
    Elizabelle says:

    @c u n d gulag:


    @Another Halocene Human: interesting about text to landline. More the challenge.

  17. 17
    Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS) says:

    @dr. bloor: @Another Halocene Human: Thanks. I get the idea behind push notifications. I just had never seen it associated with 911 before, I guess is what I’m saying. And I’ve gotten those at various times, mostly amber alerts and weather emergencies here in rural ‘murica.

  18. 18
    John C says:

    The previous message was brought to you by the good folks at
    John’s Velociraptor Steak House where you can always eat your fill!

    (Gotta pay for the service somehow, Right?)

  19. 19
    mistermix says:

    @Another Halocene Human: This is the job of the originator of the message, not the provider. I’m surprised they don’t do it.

  20. 20
    handsmile says:


    No one ever cares about Lucky.

  21. 21
    ruemara says:

    Local governments really are just starting to understand social outreach. We’re somewhere around 1997-2002

  22. 22
    Kiril says:

    When someone sends me a text that is too large for a single message, it gets split up and sent to me as two texts. Do everyone else’s phones not do this?

  23. 23
    Cynthia Ackerman says:

    @Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS):

    Reverse 911 is a stand-alone software by which the regular 911 operator simply opens a screen, fills in some boxes and selects delivery methods and other options, press a button and viola. I use our County’s reverse 911, Everbridge Aware. Lots of opportunities for user error and conflicts between the vendor and SMS carriers, though as these products evolve hopefully the vendors learn to default toward error-free.

  24. 24
    Howard Beale IV says:

    The 160 character limit is for the SMS protocol. There are other text protocols on top of SMS that allow for larger messages to be sent. (cf. https://www.wireless.att.com/businesscenter/solutions/email-messaging/business-messaging-faq.jsp)

  25. 25
    MaximusNYC says:

    What gets me about that message is that the first 5 words are then essentially repeated by the next 16 words. Most of the message is just the sender identifying themselves with redundant verbosity.

  26. 26
    Quicksand says:

    What’s the problem? They need your helpin’.

    (And perhaps also your lovin’.)

  27. 27
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS): Well, every county pretty much administers their own system so I guess they thought it was a good idea!

    My county uses their non-emergency dispatch number for outgoing calls.

  28. 28
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @ruemara: Ha ha, that’s good, that would correspond with the 2000-2001 wave of cost-cutting, layoffs, and hiring freeze in state/local governments due the first Bush recession (the Enrons and dotcoms collapsed but Bush cut taxes and let state and local government take the hit, and take the hit it did).

    With layoffs and freezes that means no young people, or people with freshly minted degrees and heck, no money to improve things anyway. I remember the early 2000s as a time of shedding expensive contracts with providers like Nextel, Motorola who had had a pretty good thing going with local governments for a while there, paying them huge monthly bills with no oversight, employees using high dollar push to talk phones for personal calls….

  29. 29
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Cynthia Ackerman:

    But the free market would never vomit up vendors who overcharge local government for software and telecomm solutions that don’t do what they’re specced to do.

  30. 30
    fuckwit says:

    Get up, and get get, get down, 911 is a joke in yo town.

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