By Audrey Fraizer
I was introduced to the Police Priority Dispatch System (PPDS) in late September 2014, although I would have preferred to remain less familiar.
“Okay, tell me exactly what happened.”
“My mom’s house was robbed.”
“Are you at the location now?”
“When did this happen?”
“Sometime during the last week. We were on vacation.”
Using ProQA software, the dispatcher’s Case Entry Questions identified Protocol 110: Burglary (Break-And-Enter)/Home Invasion as the Chief Complaint. We weren’t in danger—we’d spotted a shoe print near the bathroom sink left behind during the suspect’s apparent exit—and we hadn’t noted a suspicious vehicle or person fleeing from the house or neighborhood.
“The police are on their way,” the calltaker told us. “Do not disturb anything on the scene, including weapons, tools, or objects found nearby.”
A police officer arrived in front of the house within 10 minutes. A scene investigator wasn’t far behind.
Apparently, the intruder had recruited a patio chair to reach the window, pried it open and, then, hoisted his or her body through the opening and into the bathroom. The person stepped down to the sink, leaving the dusty shoe print.
The investigator took photos and dusted for prints. The police officer talked to my understandably upset mom, while I filled out the incident report. The officer was also honest about the chances of finding either the thief or the missing items we had yet to inventory.
“We might be lucky,” the police officer said. “Maybe the person will be caught in the act at another home.”
He said the crime was most likely drug-related, and not altogether uncommon. In fact, on a scale from one (low) to 100 for property crime, Salt Lake City earns an 83. In burglary-type offenses, money and property are the objects and, in my mom’s case, the items stolen were small (easily carried) and likely pawned or melted down for the gold content in the hours immediately after the suspect left through the patio gate.
The next day, my husband beefed up security measures at my mom’s house, and I helped her compile a list for police and insurance purposes. Some of the losses are more upsetting than others, such as my father’s World War II medals.
My introduction to PPDS was certainly not a welcomed occasion, but at least the dispatcher, protocol, and police officers involved provided a formidable first impression in response to an unfortunate event.