911 Dispatcher Gets Call For Pizza But Realizes It’s A Ploy To Conceal Cry For Help Against Offender
Nov 22, 2022 by apost team
In dangerous and violent situations, it can become difficult to know what to do. Panic can set in and cause one to second guess how to behave for fear of escalating an already terrible situation. But one night in Oregon, Ohio, a woman’s quick thinking allowed her to figure out a way to call for help without raising an aggressor’s suspicions during a domestic violence situation in her home. By doing so, she managed to save her mother from a horrible fate.
In November 2019, 911 dispatcher Tim Teneyck received a call that appeared to have been made to the wrong number. A woman on the phone started off by saying that she wanted to order a pizza. Teneyck promptly told her she placed a call to the wrong number but his suspicions were raised when she refused to hang up. Teneyck repeated his question and her answer confirmed his suspicions and he jumped into action. “You called 911 to order a pizza?” Teneyck said, to which the caller responded “No, no, no. You're not understanding…” A moment later, Teneyck answered “I’m getting you now... The guy still there?" The caller then said “Yeah, I need a large pizza,” before specifying pepperoni.
Now wise to the situation, Teneyck then asked more “yes” or “no” questions. Teneyck was also able to get the caller’s street address and apartment number. He assured the caller a police vehicle would be dispatched to the location provided. He also advised the police keep their sirens off until they were within physical distance of the unit to help.
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In his alert to the police, dispatcher Teneyck stated “Caller ordered a pizza, and agreed with everything I said that there was domestic violence going on.” When police reached the location, a man named Simon Ray Lopez, 56, was taken into custody. According to the police report, earlier that night, he had arrived drunk at the home he shared with his 57-year-old girlfriend. The man then began yelling he was “going to beat her a**” before punching and pushing her. The person who placed the 911 call for “pizza” was the woman’s 37-year-old daughter. The victim also told police she was pushed so hard "she fell into the wall behind her." Lopez was arrested and charged with domestic violence.
Oregon chief of police Mike Navarre later lauded Teneyck, who had 14 years of experience under his belt as a dispatcher, for his actions. According to 911 operations director for the National Emergency Number Association, April Heinze, there is no universal code for the public to use should they find themselves in a similar situation.
“There’s over 6,000 911 call centers in the United States,” Heinze said. “If we used one special code or even a few code words, to get that word out to the public, then all the bad guys would also know.”
However, there is a multitude of ways callers can attempt to alert dispatchers to a dangerous situation that requires discretion. She said these include using a tone of voice to convey urgency or even whispering and being persistent. She said most importantly, callers should try their best to disclose their address.
We’re glad the caller’s quick thinking and the dispatcher’s astuteness managed to save her mother. Do you have any tips to share when faced with an emergency situation? Let us know and pass this on to friends and family so they can learn these helpful pointers, too.