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Stand up, New Yorkers!!
NYPD: I just don't get it... 
30th-Jul-2007 09:34 pm
Cartoon Face
You know, sometimes I really dont get the NYPD. Their attitudes are so different from what I expect.

In front of where I work, across the street and about 30 feet away is a Fire Hydrant in between 2 drive ways. People always place their vehicles in those 3 spots (Driveway 1 and 2 and the Hydrant). People gotta take leaks or hand in paper work, its usually a 3 minute thing. Everyone co-exists happily. Except one guy who lives further down the block and makes a habit of calling the Traffic Enforcement Cops to nail everyone with tickets.

Anyway, this is all background. So, today I notice a car parked directly in front of the fire hydrant for well over 30 minutes. IMO any justification a person has has gone out the window. Now, I wasn't sure if I should dial 311 or 911, is it an emergency I asked myself? It's clearly a crime and a hazard, 311 response times are...well...lengthy, so I decided to err on the side of caution. I dialed up 911 to report the crime. Now, we all know whats written on every squad car right? Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect!

Heh, the 911 operator thought I was playing a prank. A prank. I asked if 311 would have been more appropriate and he said something along the lines of "yea sure" and hung up!
Well at this point I figured I should try calling the local precinct directly (the 61st Police Precinct on Coney Island Ave and Ave W). I was under the impression that since Traffic Officers drive NYPD vehicles, and have NYPD Patches, that they would work along side normal police at the precinct. When I called a very young sounding girl picked up. I gave her the address and the "crime" and asked if they could send someone by. She said "are you kidding me? thats not even a crime, its a traffic violation!" Wait, what? So, now i've got someone at a Police station telling me that Traffic Violations aren't crimes. Ok, the next time I've got a cop giving me a ticket I'll refer them to this person so she could explain that I'm not breaking the law! So i asked if she was serious and she continued by exclaiming "What are you doing rolling up on peoples cars anyway, mind your own business!" Ok, at this point I was just floored. I thought maybe she thought I was someone who worked there pranking the office or something. I explained I was a good sumaratin calling in something suspicious and she laughed some more, said some insulting things I was too shocked to bother remembering. I asked her if I could have her name and badge number and she just laughed and hung up.

Right, See I don't freaking get it. We're told that It's our responsibility to report suspicious behavior and anything abnormal. We're told that It's by clamping down at small Quality of Life Crimes that the police are able to discover more serious crimes and criminals. I don't think a week goes by where we don't hear something on the news about how a "Routine investigation" or a "routine traffic stop" didn't lead to some major drug bust or the uncovering of criminal activity.

Here we have a crime being committed, yes a minor crime, but a crime none the less, that qualifies as suspicious activity. At each and every turn I'm rebuffed and laughed at when I try to bring this information to the authorities. You'd think that they would rush someone over to slap the vehicle with tickets or something so the city could make an extra buck. ((Please note the sarcasm here....))

What the hell qualifies as a big enough crime for anyone to pay some freaking attention? Does someone have to get shot? Does the crime have to involve a minority or something? Does it have to be news worthy to get a response?

I'm not sure what else to say....

You know, I really really really want to support the NYPD and the "Brave Men in Blue", our first "line of defense" against terrorism. But the more and more I'm exposed to their rank and file officers/employees, the more I come to realize and believe that the paltry amount the rookies get paid isin't so much a travesty as I once thought it was. Maybe its because the low pay attracts a lower common denominator of person? I just know that the people already there don't deserve it, they deserve less.

EDIT: In response to the posters who've balked at my dialing 911 (which admittedly was expected) I Just want to add the following. I "get" it. 911 should only be dialed in an "Emergency". A couple of people have already made this point, and I've replied to them. I made a decision to dial 911 over 311 because of the suspicious nature of the situation. Nobody leaves their car unattended in front of a fire hydrant for 30 minutes in New York City, nobody. I didn't expect a squad car to rush over, In fact I didn't expect a big deal at all. I expected to be taken seriously and for everyone to act professional, regardless of how outlandish the call might seem. It's their job. If you think I shouldn't have called 911, fine, the point has been made. The 911 operator should have been professional and directed me to call 311, end of story. Feel free to discuss the other issues however.
Comments 
31st-Jul-2007 01:42 am (UTC)
You called 911 to report a car parked at a fire hydrant??? And you're surprised they didn't leap up and come running with sirens blaring??? Are you kidding? I'm surprised they were so polite. I think that every cop in the city, and every traffic agent (and, let's face it, every track maintenance worker and parks cleanup person and every secretary at City Hall) had a hundred more important things to do. I think you need to calm down, regain your sense of proportion, and maybe just quietly delete this post.
31st-Jul-2007 01:51 am (UTC)
Did I ever once say thats what I expected? I expected nothing of the sort. And You sir, are a moron for putting words in my mouth and assuming anything.

I expected Courteousness, Professionalism, and Respect. I expected that someone would log it down and dispatch a Traffic Enforcement Official, or radio one of the many "Meter Maids" that patrol the area 12 hours a day to walk over and investigate.

I expected COMMON SENSE. None of which I got. And no matter how trivial and outlandish a phone call to the police may be I expect them to treat each one SERIOUSLY. Thats the whole point and purpose of having a police department and having a 911 to dial! At the very least when I called the precinct the person on the phone should have offered me a direct number to the local Traffic Enforcement Center, OR re-directed me to 311, as the 911 Operator should have done without me having to ASK.

I'm trying to point out that The Citizens of New York City deserve a certain standard of procedure. We're told to expect the very best. That's not what we're getting.
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31st-Jul-2007 01:49 am (UTC)
Ditto. A few years back, my wife called 911 because, in the house closeby, a baby was screaming like crazy for well over an hour in the middle of the night (could have been abuse, neglect, you name it) They wanted to know her name, they wanted to know the EXACT address of the house in question, they asked her how they would find it if they don't have the exact address (!!!), they wanted to know her name again, they wanted to know what was wrong with the baby. In the end, after good 15 minutes, she just said fuck it and hung up.
31st-Jul-2007 02:41 am (UTC)
If you were close enough to hear the baby crying, did you know the family with the baby?
Or the baby could have been sick or colicky? That's just what a frazzled mother needs in the middle of the night while dealing with a poor, miserable little baby, the police to show up!
And yeah, the exact address is probably good, should they be canvassing the neighborhood looking for crying babies?
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31st-Jul-2007 02:00 am (UTC)
You shouldn't call 911 unless there is an emergency. Period.

Perhaps the desk officer at your local precinct was rude, but I don't think you should judge all NYPD officers on that.
31st-Jul-2007 02:05 am (UTC)
Well, like I said. I decided to err on the side of caution. At the worst I took up 15 seconds of someones time and they could have politely directed me to dial 311, no harm no foul.

When a vehicle is unattended for 30 minutes in front of a fire hydrant, that IMO is suspicious enough. What person in their right mind would leave their car unattended like that in front of a ticketable area!
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31st-Jul-2007 02:06 am (UTC)
You should only call 911 when there is a real emergency. If you tie up the phone line, someone that really needs it might not be able to reach 911 in time.
31st-Jul-2007 02:07 am (UTC)
Yes, my one phone call is gonna crash the cities 911 phone system. Good call!
31st-Jul-2007 02:06 am (UTC)
Well i agree that that's shameful behavior! I mean, yeah, 911 seems a bit serious. But they could've at least told you that it's not an emergency so you should dial 311! And i can't even believe the attitude of the girl at the precinct! The more i hear about cops in this city, the less i think of them, for real.
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31st-Jul-2007 02:13 am (UTC)
See, that's just not true. 911 operators are supposed to be trained professionals. When someone calls them to detail a situation in a clear and informative manner it's not gonna increase anyones response time. These people are supposed to know how to respond to anything. They have to be intelligent, well spoken, and good listeners. As I noted to another replier, my 15-30 second phone call would have a nigh no affect on the cities 911 system which is designed to take thousands of calls per second. It takes Disaster Level events to disrupt the 911 system.

If the 911 operator was doing their job right, no matter how stupid my phone call was, no matter how wrong or misguided or childish, that operator has the responsibility to hear me out and advise my next course of action. If it involves a serious crime that requires police intervention, or if its to direct me to 311.

Thats what these people are trained to do and thats what I expect of them. Thats what we should ALL expect of them.
31st-Jul-2007 02:11 am (UTC)
i just don't see how that could possibly be categorized as an emergency. The 911 operator probably gets a lot of ridiculous calls(many of which she may have to send someone out to) so I'm not surprised she was upset with you. traffic tickets are not emergencies...if the police don't come, no one gets hurt. if there IS a fire, then it might be an emergency, but the fire dept. will take care of the notifications, I bet.
31st-Jul-2007 02:14 am (UTC)
Yes, I'm sure 911 DOES get its fair share of pointless calls. However, you're missing the point of my post. Read my replies to others for clarification, but the point you're making, and that others have made, and that others WILL have made is moot.
31st-Jul-2007 02:22 am (UTC)
People in Brooklyn routinely park in hydrants, double park, or park in bus stops. I kind of leave my car anywhere with the hazards on. A lot of people do it. I rarely get tickets. It's not really a big deal to most drivers. I've really only ever gotten tickets for an expired meter or not moving it for alternate side. I've noticed we do it more than in other boroughs. No biggie.
31st-Jul-2007 02:26 am (UTC)
You're right, it's normally not a big deal. People do it all the time. I do it too. But this wasn't a 5 or 10 minute stop over with hazards on. It was 30 minutes or more and the vehicle was completely unattended at the time. Nobody in New York does that...they would be insane too. At they very least it was suspicious behavior.
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31st-Jul-2007 02:58 am (UTC)
courtesy, professionalism, respec. rofl my waffle
31st-Jul-2007 02:57 am (UTC)
Actually, "erring on the side of caution" should have been to call 311. As the one of the Deputy Fire Wardens for my office, I am appauled that you would call 911 for a parking violation. If there was a fire emergency, I am SURE they'd bash the windows in to put the hose thruough if they needed to.

Some people are just retarded knowing they can "get away with" parking in a hydrant spot in a poorly patrolled area, but noting the License Plate and calling 311 is what should be done. As a person who parked his car in Manhattan for a good 2yrs, I have seen this MANY times. I, as well as most people I am sure, consider use of 911 for fire, shots fired, violent intruders, someone needing an ambulance, etc. Are there exceptions? Probably. But if one needs to err on teh side of caution and no one is "screaming bloody murder", please use 311. :)
31st-Jul-2007 04:19 am (UTC)
I'm appalled that you don't know how to spell appalled.

Or at least look it up.
31st-Jul-2007 03:13 am (UTC)
"I made a decision to dial 911 over 311 because of the suspicious nature of the situation. Nobody leaves their car unattended in front of a fire hydrant for 30 minutes in New York City, nobody."

Oh do shut up. Your justification is garbage, as being dumb enough to park in front of a hydrant is the worst excuse to claim "suspicious activity" that I've ever heard. I'm sure terrorists are not completely ignorant of traffic laws.
31st-Jul-2007 03:22 am (UTC)
OK, I think what Arthur did is beyond ludicrous, but the journalist in me does have to point out that the Son Of Sam was caught because of .... parking tickets. Sorry, just hadda say it. :-)
31st-Jul-2007 03:14 am (UTC)
I think 911 was the right number to call. It's not like there's really that many crimes being phoned in. If you've ever gone to a police station, most of the time, they are all just sitting around telling jokes or pickin their noses. I dialed 911 in nassau county last week to report a bunch of kids drinking in the sump behind my mother's house(the neighborhood kids apparently hop the fence and tresspass back there to drink, smoke, and set things on fire, I've already lost my motorcycle because of this)and the operator was very professional and said she'd send someone over right away...and 10 min later, the kids were being chased out...20 min later..I hopped the fence, found their hidden beer and my late great grandmother's missing picnic bench and returned to the house. but as far as the lack of professionalism among the NYPD, I'm trying very hard to keep my mouth shut..since I think all of you know where I'll go with this...
31st-Jul-2007 03:24 am (UTC)
You obviously have NO clue about the workings of the 911 center.
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31st-Jul-2007 03:43 am (UTC)
who cares if it is a hydrant the NYFD can smash the cars windows and feed the hose through that way, it doesn't actually stop them from fighting a fire it just makes it more annoying.

Forget about more annoying, it takes time to do it, Even if it's just 30 seconds, it's still 30 seconds they can start getting water on the house., 30 seconds later they can enter the house....it could mean the differnece between life and death!
31st-Jul-2007 03:28 am (UTC)
Two things- I once called 311 to report a suspicious vehicle parked on my street (a man was sitting in his car for well over three hours- car running, right outside my house. It creeped me out. Kind of looked like he was staking the place out.) When I mentioned the word "suspicious" to the woman at 311, she immediatly redirected me to 911 (ignoring my protests that this wasn't a real emergency- no fire, no guns fired, no ambulences needed.) They took my information there and sent a patrol car around within 10 minutes.

Two days ago, I woke up and noticed that someone was parked in front of my driveway. I had some errands to run and figured that I would walk the dog and do some things around the house and hope that they'd move in a few hours. They didn't. I called 311 after about 3 hours of waiting. 311 took my information and promised to send a car around. This was at 11am. At 9pm, the car was still parked there, no one had come around to ticket it, and I had wasted a day.
31st-Jul-2007 04:00 am (UTC)
Assuming this all is even true, as opposed to more bait for the natives here to be outraged by, this was utterly assinine of you.

What emergency were you imagining exactly?

No one was in immanent danger because of that car, and while it's lamentable that NYC employees were not helpful to you, the fact is that when you deal with the public in NYC you deal with cranks, pranks and a hundred other time-wasters and sometimes that means customer service isn't perfect.

(life-long residents: can you even believe were discussing the quality of customer care from city employees?)

But you know what? So what! Better you got blown off for this than a bunch of cops and emergency operators taking their time to respond nice and slowly to you about how a damn illegally parked car was not putting anything in immediate obvious jeopardy.

You call 311. I've done it for open hydrants without sprinkler caps on my block a bunch of times. Works just fine. You're not special. You're not a superhero. You're not saving the world. Stop bitching about not getting a pat on the head from the cops and get some perspective.
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