Hum, I thought, as I checked out free apps on iTunes. I was looking at one called “Police Scanner.” That sounds interesting. So, I touched the download button and soon it was on my iPhone. I tried to tune in the local cops to see what was going on, but things seemed pretty calm on the local scene, just a lot of static.
But wait, what about these other channels: Chicago, LAPD, or Detroit? I tried Chicago and got action quickly. Police dispatchers talk in numbers, code for the type of incident going on. However, between the numbers they also talk in regular language. “10-67 A woman said she was going to burn down the building,” said the scanner, “and now there is smoke coming from it. Fire department will take this one.”
“Code 3: Caller reports an intoxicated driver is crashing into cars parked on the street.” Code 3 is police talk for use your lights and siren, this one is an emergency.
I listed for a while to the wrecks, robberies, and various other crimes in progress. It was sort of like an episode of “Cops” except it was for real. I’m not a big crime show fan, so I soon got enough and decided to turn it off. “Where’s the ‘off’ button?” There didn’t seem to be one. Well, not to worry, I will return to the home screen and that will cut it off. Besides, I have other things to do.
I tossed my phone in my purse and left for the grocery store. But, as I rounded the corner of the produce aisle, my purse began to talk. “Screech, 211 Robbery in progress!” Where? Then I realized it was the scanner. I took off for the milk cooler before the people who had dived under counters could see who was giving out false alarms.
“10-15 We have the suspect in custody,” said my purse. “What did you say?” asked a man with a large jug of 2% milk. “Who me” I looked around as if looking for the offender, then smiled, trying to show as many teeth as possible while backing away, forgetting all about the orange juice I wanted.
No telling what it would say next. The restroom. I would go to the restroom and be sure it was turned off for real this time. “10-84 We are going to block the road at the intersection,” said my purse as I ran down the aisle with my buggy. Dear God, the store manager will think I am trying to sabotage the supermarket.
I ducked into the restroom and yanked the phone from my purse, trying to figure out how to turn the darn thing off. If you can turn it on, surely you can turn it off. “Shut up,” I said. A woman washing her hands looked at me strangely. “Oh, not you, my purse.” The woman left quickly.
The phone had no intention of shutting up, though. “Screech, 11-85 A red car is blocking a man’s driveway. He wants the car towed. Can you check it out?” No, I can’t check it out. I was frantically pushing buttons on the phone.
“10-72 A caller said there are two police cars in front of his house. He wants them moved or he is going to start shooting.” No, no, not a gun battle in the supermarket restroom. I finally managed to turn the volume down before the bullets started flying.
I left without checking out my groceries, glad to escape before being arrested for inciting panic in a public place. Wonder what code that is? I could listen in and see if they are coming for me.
I later figured out that the only way to turn the scanner off was to turn the phone off. “10-3 You are going to stay turned off from now on,” I mumbled holding down the “off” button on the phone.
“10-4” said the phone as it faded away.
Copyright 2014 Sheila Moss