A woman has been saved from a domestic violence situation thanks to her quick-thinking daughter.
The daughter, knowing that phoning for help could anger her mother’s attacker further, pretended to be ordering a pizza after dialling 911.
She told the operator: “I would like to order a pizza.”
At first, dispatcher Tim Teneyck, who takes anything from a handful to hundreds of calls a day, replied: “This is the wrong number to call for a pizza.”
But the daughter – who reports suggest is 38 – was insistent: “No, no, no… you’re not understanding.”
Mr Teneyck realised what was happening and said: “I’m getting you now, I got it.”
He continued: “Is the other guy still there?”
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The daughter replied: “Yep, I need a large pizza.”
Mr Teneyck asked: “Alright, how about medical? You need medical?”
“No, with pepperoni,” was the reply.
“Alright, we’ll get ’em going,” Mr Teneyck said, as police headed to the home to help. He also instructed them to turn their sirens off before they arrived.
It was 14 years of experience that helped Mr Teneyck pick up on the caller’s situation.
He said: “I put it together after she said the second time she was really sticking to her pizza story, so I knew there was something else going on.
“It’s not really a big deal, it’s what we do every day. Yeah, it’s a little bit outside the normal but not too far out where every other dispatcher can’t do it.”
Oregon Police Chief Michael Navarre told NBC: “I’ve been in law enforcement for 42 years and I’ve never heard of a person calling up and ordering a pizza to get police response.”
He said that he hoped victims could use the example in addition to other tools that could help them contact police without risking their lives.
“So what they do is they teach people to come up with a code word and share that code word with one or two people that are close to them – neighbours, friends, relatives – so that when they are allowed to make a call but not to the police, they can use that code word.”
Mr Teneyck told the Toledo Blade that he worries exposure of the pizza ruse will alert offenders, so victims in danger should simply call and lay the phone down in a position where dispatchers can listen in and start help that way.
Never hang up, if you can help it, he said.
“The best thing to do is just have an open phone line and say as much as you can – address and names – until we can figure it all out,” he said.
The attacker was arrested and faces a domestic violence charge.