911 Callers Are a Joke in Broward County

Don't know what day it is? Look at a calender. Don't call 911

It appears residents in Broward County have their definitions for "nonsense" and "emergency" mixed up.

According to the Broward Sheriff's Office call center, nearly half the 911 calls they receive are for things not quite a life or death situation - unless you consider a fast food order an emergency.

To paraphrase the immortal words of Flavor Flav, 911 callers are a joke in this town.

"'My toilet's overflowing, what do I do?' That's my personal favorite," BSO Sheriff Al Lamberti said.

While it's a stretch, a busted toilet at least could, conceivably, be considered an emergency. But there is no rationale for the number of calls that sound something like this:

"I ordered chicken nuggets and they don't have chicken nuggets," one woman called 911 to report.

The fast food offenses are usually the most common and often the most annoying because people think it's really an emergency worthy of 911, one operator said.

"Screaming in my ear, 'I wanted the sausage, and he gave me the burrito!'" April McGill recalls from one call. "She's trying to force me to eat something off the menu that I don't want!"

The penal code hasn't quite addressed customer service in the fast food industry, but that hasn't stopped Broward residents from picking up the phone and calling the police. People have asked for police escorts, rides to the liquor store and instructions on how to make meatballs.

One woman even called to ask what day it was.

Meanwhile, real emergencies can suffer from an influx of foolish calls. Occasionally, the police do show up to help. Well, help that person into a pair of handcuffs and a jail cell.

Lamberti said there is a pretty easy rule to follow if you aren't sure if 911 is the right call for you.

"If it involves your toilet or your turkey that's a no-no," he said.

Or as one operator put it, "911 is if you're dying. Do you understand that?"

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