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Overheard in the newsroom

In a typical newsroom, there are usually reporters conducting phone interviews, pecking away on their keyboards and talking to the occasional visitor, but a constant in most newsrooms across the country will always be the police scanner. The Post newsroom is no exception. Our scanner sits in the middle of the newsroom.
The scanner alerts us about wrecks, fires and other emergencies. It’s how we stay abreast of many mishaps, accidents and other threats. But sometimes the scanner can just be downright entertaining. You’d be surprised about the quirky and outrageous things that are said over the scanner.
Note: the following is not meant to offend anyone, it’s just some scanner chatter that we’ve found amusing or interesting over the years.
• Caller says “dog is sitting on her convertible and won’t let her inside.”
• Dispatcher: “Man walking down the street with a flower pot on his head.”
• Caller says “black male walked up to him and tried to sell him the car wash.”
• Dispatcher: “The guy was trying to carry the kitchen table out to the bonfire.”
• Dispatcher: “ Luke’s Corner. Someone ran over a chicken.” — The owner of the chicken reportedly threw the chicken at the caller.
• Dispatcher: “A guy dancing on Innes Street beside Waffle House.”
• Traffic accident: Car vs Kia
• Dispatcher: “Possible dead body found at the intersection of U.S. 29 and N.C. 152.” — A few minutes later, dispatcher: “It was somebody sleeping.”
• Dispatcher: “Caller said the man said he’s not a soldier he just likes wearing fatigues.”
• Dispatcher: “Caller said his wife was not acting like herself.”
• Dispatcher: “Sister says her brother won’t give her back the remote.”
What I’ve gleaned from listening to the scanner over the years is people call 911 for legitimate emergencies and there are about 10 percent, in my opinion, that are minor incidences. I realize to them in that moment their “emergency” feels significant. It’s easy to dial those three numbers when a situation seems more than one person can handle. But, when people are trapped in their cars following a crash or they’ve lost everything in a house, it’s not amusing.
Law enforcement officers get called to some very serious crimes, many of which we reporters hear on the police scanner. However, some of the crimes would be considered less serious than others.
During a recent interview, Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins told me about the partnership between his department and Fibrant employees at the Network Operation Center. They’ve teamed up to create Police Expediters. The expediters have background checks and the police department is a part of the hiring process.
Officers dictate reports to the expediters. When the Fibrant employees are not taking calls regarding internet, cable and phone services they complete reports on some of the less serious crimes. Officers then go back and check the reports for accuracy and follow up with the resident.
Collins told me the expediters help free up officers so they can spend their time in the community.
“It’s truly going to be a benefit for us,” Collins said.

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