A teenager was recently arrested in Lincoln Park, Michigan, after swearing during a 911 call about her father who was experiencing a post-brain surgery seizure on their kitchen floor. The girl, Adrainne Ledesma became frustrated after 911 didn’t answer her first call. The second call was not answered right away either, and she dropped an F-bomb just as Sgt Robert McFarland was answering the line.
Ledesma: [irritated that was no answer] What the f***?
Ledesma: [sounding like she was caught off-guard] I need an ambulance at…
McFarland: Well, okay, first of all you don’t need to swear over 911, and slow down…
Ledesma: Send me a f****** ambulance!
[Officer hangs up]
Three calls to 911 later, Ledesma still received no help from the officer who called her an a** and a buffoon in response to the scared 17-year-old’s reaction. Leaving her older brother with her father, Ledesma walked a few blocks to the Lincoln Park police station and demanded an ambulance and the 911 officer’s name. She was then arrested by McFarland for disorderly conduct and, “abusing 911,” which she clearly wasn’t.
Since this fiasco, all charges have been dropped against the girl, and the cop received two weeks suspension without pay, as well as sensitivity training. The family hired a lawyer and, as of this publication, is prepared to settle out of court.
When listening to the tapes, one learns that 911 calls are recorded and the caller can be heard even before the officer answers the call. The girl clearly wasn’t swearing at the officer during the first call, and was caught off guard. The real question is, why did the police officer react the way he did and refuse to ask the caller what was wrong in the first place?
My experience with police officers is limited but profound, because I volunteered with our local Sheriff’s Department for a few years during high school. Police work was my first love, so I was acutely aware of the attitudes many officers had.
First of all, many police officers do what they do because they have control issues or think they are on a higher plain than most people to begin with. With the badge comes a god-like sense of elitism and entitlement, and these attributes only become more pronounced the saltier they get. Years of dealing with public douchebaggery and getting dumped on leave officers bitter and often with a short, sometimes violent temper. Their unique working environment often breeds anger, racial bigotry, and an extreme dislike/pre-judgment towards pretty much anyone without some sort of a public badge. I’m not saying all police offers are like this, because I met many funny, down-to-Earth guys on the force, but most people can’t let the day’s happenings roll off of them. Many take it personally. Some snap during a random call and never come back.
I don’t claim to know Officer McFarland’s personal situation, but I do know he has served for twenty years as a Lincoln Park police officer and not made a public apology to this family. Hopefully this situation will be brought to the attention of 911 call operators throughout the US, in hopes of avoiding a repeat occurrence.