Chatham-Kent’s silly 911 calls and silly criminals of 2013

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Chatham-Kent police have their most wanted list, but they also compile a list of calls they respond to that are just plain silly.

Const. Renee Cowell, media relations officer with the Chatham-Kent Police Service (CKPS) said it is a treat to compile the latter list each year.

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“Throughout the year, I keep a folder. I ask officers to send me a note when they have a silly call,” she said. “And we do get a lot of silly calls.”

From complaints about a senator and Mother Nature, to animals hopping into vehicles, it was a whacky 2013 for CKPS officers.

Here is the top 10 for 2013, in Cowell’s words:

10. “If you’re on probation with conditions not to drive a motor vehicle, it may not be a good idea to drive your e-bike to your probation appointment.”

9. “A homeowner relaxing in his hot tub was startled by a male who jumped his fence and fell into the pool. Any criminal plans the male had quickly sizzled. He hastily exited the pool and sloshed away into the darkness.”

8. “Bathrooms are not typically where you ‘play possum,’ however, this one wasn’t playing. A woman called 911 after she opened her cupboard and was face to face with a possum. Animal control was called to initiate a relocation program.”

7. “A neighbour dispute escalated when one believed that the other was using outside bulbs on his porch that he felt were too bright. His response? Strobe lights. They didn’t solve the problem, but the area was sufficiently lit for a short time.”

6. “Police wear many hats, however, controlling ‘acts of nature’ is not one of them. A neighbour called police because he was offended that rain water from his neighbour’s roof was going onto his property.”

5. “It would be expected that a person would call police to report a $90,000 fraud. However, it’s not common that the caller names (Senator) Mike Duffy in Ottawa as the accused.”

4. A squirrel jumped through the open window of a vehicle that was driving through Maple Leaf Cemetery, “causing the driver to accelerate into a ravine. Luckily the driver was not injured and the squirrel now looks before leaping.”

3. “A word of warning to bored youths … Dog leashes will not ‘trip’ cars.”

2. “Although a goat on the road technically doesn’t constitute a 911 call, the circumstances quickly changed. When the driver exited to get a closer look at the 911 address, the goat jumped in her vehicle.”

1. “A man called police to help him retrieve his personal property, rather unusual property, it was learned. The man had attended his girlfriend’s residence and while there, removed his glass eye. He was upset that his girlfriend had hidden his eye and refused to return it.”

Cowell said her personal favourite was No. 10.

“You’re on conditions and you are clearly in violation of those conditions when you get on that e-bike.”

In regards to the prevalence of animals on this list, Cowell said the police receive a lot of 911 calls regarding our four-legged friends.

“You’d be surprised how many we have in a year,” she said. “I get a laugh out of the visual of the goat (No. 2 on the list). A person gets out to check an address and the goat jumps into the car.

“And a squirrel jumping into a car (No. 4), that would freak anybody out.”

Cowell said a group of kids really did try to trip a car with canine leashes (No. 3).

“They put the dog leashes across the road, thinking these dog leashes would literally trip a car,” she said. “We were able to find these kids and warn them about their behaviour.”

Perhaps a crash course in physics is warranted as well.

Local police also showcased their dumbest criminal of 2013, and best excuse for speeding.

“A woman was stopped in Kent Bridge for speeding. She didn’t think it was right that she get a speeding ticket because the police didn’t first advertise in the newspaper that they would be enforcing speed on that day.”

As for the dumbest criminal, “An erratic driver was stopped and issued two traffic tickets. It’s likely that the tickets were enough to ruin the driver’s day, but the driver further complicated matters for himself. As the officer was speaking to him outside his vehicle, the driver used his shirt to wipe his eyes, revealing a plastic baggie with drugs that he had taped to his chest. He was additionally charged with drug possession.”

Ooops.

“He would have been fine if he didn’t lift his shirt,” he said of the nervous, sweating driver.

Cowell said the compilation of the silly calls, the mention of dumbest criminal and best speeding excuse are popular, lighthearted efforts by the police service. The list is released each year between Christmas and New Year’s.

“It’s nice during the festive season to make people smile,” she said. “Typically, our media releases are filled with negative items. It’s nice for the public to see we wear many hats.”

And it’s not just the local public who takes interest. Cowell said she released last year’s list while on vacation, and her cell phone rang constantly from media outlets, including many well beyond our borders. She said the list made it into the media in parts of the U.S. and even overseas.

All laughing aside, Cowell said police continue to encourage people to call 911 when they need emergency assistance.

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