There’s nothing like pulling into the driveway and seeing a police officer approach you with his hand on his holster. Not knowing if he came from the school of “shoot first, ask questions later”, I put on a big smile and all but frolicked out of my car.
Me waving like a giddy little schoolgirl: Hi there!
Him cautious: Can I help you?
Me curious: Uh, yeah, this is my house.
Him suspicious: You say this is YOUR house?
Me making sure: Yes…this is my house…is something wrong?
Him suspicious: Can I see some ID?
[I handed over my license which shares the same address as the driveway we were standing in. He confirmed with dispatch that I was warrant-free.]
Him questioning: Is anyone inside?
Me nervous: My wife and baby. I just hung up with her, why?
Him annoyed: Your alarm signaled a break-in.
Me confused: That was two hours ago.
Him more annoyed: Well…I was the only one able to respond and they pulled me off an accident for this.
I explained that the alarm was triggered when our daughter dropped a book on the tile and set off the glass break sensors. My wife gave our super secret password to the alarm company when they called so we figured the alert was called off.
Apparently, the alarm company rep didn’t see our password and assumed we weren’t supposed to have one. So when my wife gave a password, he did the right thing and called the police.
I don’t have a problem with the alarm company working on the side of caution. What I’m concerned about is a 2 hour response time to a break-in alarm. Why have an alarm system at all?! Two hours? Seriously?
It Ain’t Hollywood
I’m sure you’ve seen those movies where a bunch of brazen bank robbers fire AK-47′s into the ceiling to commence their cash grab. Someone is always clutching a stopwatch and shouting out…”ALARM SOUNDED…WE HAVE 90 SECONDS!” Cue to the scene where they hustle and bustle through the lobby filling their sacks before exiting in a flash.
Quite a different story if someone ever robs our home.
“ALARM SOUNDED…WE HAVE TWO HOURS!” Cue to the scene where guys slowly roll a dolly off a moving van and saunter into the house. They jot down a wish list on their clipboards and then slowly drag all of our possessions through the front door. They feed our cats and then sit to enjoy a sandwich while washing it down with a cold coca-cola. Maybe even time for a swim. They yawn, stroll to the truck, and pull out of the driveway with barely an hour to spare.
After the officer realized that this was just one big misunderstanding with the alarm company, he reiterated how he was pulled off an accident by his superior and “hopes the guy is okay”.
Gee…thanks for the guilt trip! Turns out he was on traffic duty winding cars around cones but he made us feel like we pulled him away from operating the Jaws of Life or something.
Then he explained that he would have gotten here faster but he was “stuck behind a mobile home being moved through town”. Um…excuse me…but those flashy things on top of your car…might those come in handy in a situation like this?
As we stood on the front porch listening to the obstacles he faced getting to our home, we noticed that neighbors were driving by reallllll slow. Some more than once. It was then that I shifted to my “Innocent Pose”. If any of you have ever been outside speaking with the police then you probably know about the Innocent Pose.
This is where you stand as casually as possible, almost TOO casually, so that your body language communicates to the world that you’re not under arrest and just enjoying a kickin’ conversation. You laugh at anything and everything. You talk with your hands so everyone can clearly see that you aren’t cuffed. You give the officer a noogie. These kinds of things.
We got a call later that night from a neighbor who said they were thinking of starting up a Neighborhood Watch and wanted to log any police activity in the neighborhood. Hmmm. Sounds like a clever snoop tactic, but I’ll bite.
I explained that I let the hostages go and that the charges will be dropped if I keep my ankle bracelet on.
After a nice awkward pause I shared the story of the false alarm and we said our goodbyes.
We still haven’t heard anything on this Neighborhood Watch dealio, and I doubt we will, but I do take solace that everyone is nosy. At least a moving van in our driveway won’t go unnoticed.
But I Digress
The police officer was a nice enough guy and he even gave us some stickers to give to our son. I poke fun at the situation, but understand that I wouldn’t trade places with him for the world. These guys agree to put their lives on the line every day and I’m very appreciative of this. I also understand that false alarms have got to be frustrating and I’m sure when a call goes out to investigate a home alarm that the call is met with groans and often-met expectations of a wasted trip.
Our alarm company, Cry Wolf Security (sic), assures us that urgency is priority one. I just hope that’s the case when we really need them!