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Every shift brings the unexpected at the Cleveland-area emergency dispatch center Chagrin Valley Dispatch, but some events increase the unpredictability, according to staff featured in the series “911 Crisis Center,” airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen.
“A full moon happens and things go crazy,” a dispatcher told producers.
One caller reported that someone shot through his window, but the glass on his kitchen floor, he realized, was from a casserole dish. Officers checked on the situation. They confirmed that no shots had been fired — although the casserole dish was beyond repair.
Throughout the shift, dispatchers picked up calls from individuals reporting seeing strange lights in the sky. “There’s a green beam coming through the window,” one caller said. Another described seeing “strange blue lights.”
Officials eventually determined the source of the illumination was not aliens or a UFO. “We have a party going on up on the top of the hill at Fairmount,” an officer’s voice is heard saying. “They have a spotlight.”
In a serious turn of events, a woman called to report that there was “a man climbing up [her] balcony” and that he was kicking in her door. Dispatchers determined that the intruder was an ex-boyfriend with violent tendencies. “Please hurry,” she pleaded.
Dispatch assured her that help was on the way. The address turned out to be one with a history of domestic issues. Police arrived on the scene in five minutes to check the residents but were unable to locate the caller’s ex-boyfriend.
The full moon shift was also a reminder that even a routine traffic stop can turn dangerous. When a dispatcher was doing a license plate check while officers were doing a routine traffic stop, the driver took off. Officers followed in a full-blown pursuit at 85 miles an hour.
“High speed pursuits are dangerous because there’s so many things that could go wrong so quickly,” a dispatcher told producers.
At least eight departments were involved in the pursuit. During the chase officers employed spike strips to immobilize the car. That plan failed but the car being pursued eventually lost a tire. The driver kept driving on the rim. “There’s flames coming from his car,” said a dispatcher.
The car eventually stopped. Between officers and a K-9 unit the individuals were apprehended. “We celebrate when we catch people,” said a dispatcher. “It’s a big sigh of relief for us.”
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