Really? That’s Your Emergency? ‘Outrageous 911,’ a Show About Emergency Calls, on TLC
By NEIL GENZLINGER
Published: December 13, 2013
On Saturday, the folks at TLC, although they are not known for their public-service programming, offer a solution to the vexing problem of drunken driving, which becomes particularly severe around the holidays. The way to get impaired drivers off the road is for the drivers to call 911 and report themselves.
That is what one undeniably intoxicated woman does in “Outrageous 911,” a two-part special that compiles ridiculous but real emergency calls received by various police agencies. This is the exchange, re-enacted for the program over a tape of the actual call:
Woman: Somebody’s really drunk driving down Granton Road.
Dispatcher: Which way are they going?
Woman: Towards Granton.
Dispatcher: O.K. Are you behind them, or … ?
Woman: No, I am them.
Dispatcher: You am them?
Police departments receive inappropriate 911 calls by the boatload, and the show (whose second installment is to be shown early next year) never goes more than a few minutes without repeating the disclaimer that 911 should be used only for emergencies and that doing otherwise is a crime. That said, some of the calls here make even the dispatchers laugh.
An escaped raccoon, a reanimated deer and two copulating dogs figure in the action. And several callers (in addition to the self-reporting drunken driver) add their names to the Amazingly Stupid Criminals honor roll. For instance, two young men on a crime spree are betrayed when one pocket-dials 911 at a very bad time. No National Security Agency eavesdropping assistance was needed to make this bust.
TLC, Saturday night at 10, Eastern and Pacific times; 9, Central time.
Produced by Mike Mathis Productions. Mike Mathis and Brian Puterman, executive producers for Mike Mathis Productions; Mike Kane, executive producer for TLC.