2.48 am and my First Mission begins. Yap yap yap yap yap. Time to roll. I look at the clock and cannot believe that it’s not even 3 in the morning. It must be a mistake. That dog has got to be confused. It’s not even time for him to be up yet. I’m going back to sleep! No, I cannot go back to sleep, that’s how this got so frustrating in the first place.
I got dressed, got in the car, and went down to the Tempe Police Station.
I pull into the parking lot and the first spot is a handicapped spot, there are about a half-dozen police cars parked in the lot, then there are a couple of open spaces, but they are marked reserved for crime-fighting vehicles. I go around to the back of the lot where an officer is sitting in a truck, but I don’t bother him yet, thinking I’ll find a spot eventually. Nope. I end up having to exit the lot and try the whole durn thing over again and when I get to the officer a second time, I figure I better address him before he locks me up for crazy driving. He instructs me to park in one of the “Crime-Fighting” spaces. Yeah, that’s right. I’m a Crime Fighter!!!
So, I go around to the front of the building and try to open the door. Locked. Locked? Can a police station be locked? Well, I guess so, but like is it just locked or is it “closed?” Can police stations be closed?!?!
There happens to be a call box on the front of the building. On the box are two buttons, one big huge red button, that says both “help” and “call” on it in some way, and a smaller, black button, that says, “info.” I am hesitant to press either one, but now I’m nervous standing out on the street at 3am. I felt safe when I thought it was a police station, but if it’s just a closed building, this isn’t much safer than being in Guadalupe at 3am.
So, I go for “info,” and the red area actually lights up and something like “placing call” also lights up.
“911, what is your emergency?”
Oh crap! “This isn’t an emergency,” I say, quickly.
“911, what is your emergency?”
“This isn’t an emergency,” I repeat, loudly.
I begin to explain that I’m standing at the police station and I just want to talk to officers about a barking dog problem and I didn’t mean to call 911 and blah blah blah, and the guy interrupts me, “I can’t hear you, ma’am.”
Well, I’m talking on your call box and it’s 3 in the morning and I don’t wanna be yelling in the neigbhorhood, but as long as I now also have a flashing blue light going off on this thing – yes, at some point, a flashing blue light started and that was quite embarrasing for a moment, until I realized that there really wasn’t anyone around to see it, then it was more disconcerting.
I imagined myself as a rape victim or someone who had just escaped a kidnapper, finally ran to the police station for safety, then standing at this frickin’ thing with a blue light going off and some dude on the other side saying he couldn’t hear you. Meanwhile, your raised voice and the blue light would alert your attacker to exactly where you got off to. Thanks, lady, that blue beacon really helped me find you.
Oh yeah, but anyway, about the dog. The 911 guy asked me about my phone several times during the conversation despite my repeated explanations that I was on the police callbox. Eventually, the 911 guy explained I’d have to call the Sheriff’s Department and he gave me the number to the Sherrif’s office. At the end of that, an officer pulled up and listed to the end of my conversation.
When he got out of his car, after I was off the phone with the 911 guy – oh wait, I forgot something – while I was on the call box call with the 911 guy, the call box actually went dead and the call dropped. I couldn’t believe that! I don’t know if he hung up on me or if there is a time limit on a call box or what, but that is another terrifying development to the rape victim fantasy, but anyhow, back to the dogs.
When the 911 call box dropped, I called the Tempe Police non-emergency number on my cellphone and was re-connected to the 911 guy who said he could hear me better. So, anyhow, after I got of the ‘phone’ phone with the 911 guy, Officer T. Busby tried to help me next.
We went through pretty much the same circle – You need the dog’s address, if it’s in Tempe we can help you, in Guadalupe, it’s the Sheriff’s Department, where is the dog? I don’t know. Well, call us if it’s in Tempe.
I explain that I’m standing on his doorstep at 3am as a compromise with my husband because what I wanted to do is to go find the dog’s address. He agreed with my husband that middle-aged white broads don’t go into Guadalupe looking for dogs at 3am. Okay, fine. Will you go with me, then? Um, no. I will help you look for it in Tempe. Well, fabulous, I’m back to where I started.
Eventually, he told me that if I called back today, he would actually come to my house and help me look for the dog, even though I wasn’t even in his beat. What a nice guy! I told him I would do that if I needed to. He and a fellow officer who had strolled up on the scene gave me numbers for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department – 602-878-1011 and for Code Enforcement in Tempe, if that’s where the dog ended up being – 480-350-8372, and they gave me the Tempe non-emergency police number 480-350-8311, which I already had, and would have used, if I would have known what that call box would do if you just press, “info.” I guess I also found out that I live in B21, whatever that means, and that the police station is not located in B21.
I went home and went back to bed. At 5.45, our dog began his morning ritual yet again.