OREGON, Ohio (WTVG/Gray News) - A scary situation of alleged domestic violence ended with the suspected abuser in handcuffs, all because the victim's daughter used an innovative approach to seeking help. She dialed 911, but instead of asking for police, she pretended to order a pizza.
The victim's daughter said she used this tactic to keep the person who was hitting her mom in the dark that she was calling for help. That way, he wouldn't run away before police got there.
It's a strategy that worked.
In his 14 years of service, this is a call Oregon dispatcher Tim Teneyck has never gotten before.
"You see it on Facebook, but it's not something that anybody has ever been trained for. We're just trained to listen," said Teneyck.
He says domestic violence calls are common, but not like this. He alerted officers to turn their sirens off when responding. Teneyck said his intuition that something wasn't right kicked in. To him, that reaffirms how important listening is in his line of work.
"Other dispatchers that I've talked to would not have picked up on this. They've told me they wouldn't have picked up on this," said Teneyck.
"Excellent dispatch work on the part of our dispatcher. Some dispatchers may have hung up," said Oregon Chief of Police Michael Navarre.
Navarre said that ordering a pizza to indicate domestic violence is something he's never heard of.
"Not in all my years ... not in my 42 years of law enforcement," he said.
Coming up with some kind of code to alert 911 that you're in trouble is the right thing to do. The chief said if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, here's what you should do:
"Somehow or another convey to that police dispatcher that you are in trouble, and this woman did that. She did that not with her words, but with the tone of her voice," he said.
Thanks to the quick thinking of both the caller and the dispatcher, the alleged abuser, Simon Lopez, was arrested and locked up.
"He handled the call beautifully and it had a happy ending," Navarre said of the dispatcher.
Tips from law enforcement when calling 911 to report domestic violence:
• Give as much information as possible
• Stay on the line as long as possible (That allows the dispatcher to potentially hear any hitting, gunshots, dogs barking, etc.)
• Say full names and addresses (Example: "John Smith please stop beating me at 123 Main Street")
• Make up an excuse to use the phone when the abuser is in the room (Examples: ordering a pizza, calling the electric company, reporting a problem in the neighborhood, etc.)
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