Idiot Mom Offended by 9-1-1 Operator

A Texas mother who dialed 9-1-1 to report that her daughter was misbehaving was not amused when the operator asked, “Do you want us to come over to shoot her?”

Mom not laughing at 911 call-taker’s comment (KLTV 7 – AP)

A 9-1-1 dispatcher in Watauga has apologized after responding to a mother’s plea for help with an unruly child by saying: “O-K. Do you want us to come over to shoot her?” The woman, identified only as Lori in today’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram, said she recently phoned authorities after coming home to find her daughters fighting. She told the call-taker her 12-year-old — who had kicked a hole in the door — was out of control.

After dispatcher Mike Forbess’ comment, the line went dead for 5 seconds. “Are you there?” Forbess asked. “Excuse me?” Lori said. The dispatcher told her he was joking and apologized. The woman was not amused.

Forbess has received two written reprimands for his behavior. The woman said she wants more done than what she termed just an “interoffice disciplinary action.”

Clearly, the dispatcher was in the wrong. It was Lori, not the daughter, who should have been shot.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anderson says:

    Does Texas have no law against the abuse of a 911 number? Those are moments in which a real emergency victim might be on hold. The mother is the one who should be in trouble here.

  2. Mark says:

    Well, I can see calling 911 if the kid was in some drug-induced rage, not likely here.

    But it doesn’t beat calling 911 over a wrong hamburger order.

  3. bindare says:

    Did you notice both the unruly child call and the hamberger order call were made by women. Does that indicate that women are more likely to look for others to solve their little problems. Just asking.

  4. Anderson says:

    Right, a guy would’ve probably just beaten the kid to death. After all, a majority of such crimes are committed by men, suggesting that men are more likely than women to turn to violence to solve their little problems.


  5. Kent says:

    Both bindare and Anderson are right, of course.

    So what?

  6. Anderson says:

    I hope we were both being ironic, not just me.

  7. McGehee says:

    I have no basis for this, but I have this sneaking suspicion that wasn’t the first frivolous 911 call Forbess had handled that day. Just a hunch…

  8. McGehee says:

    The woman said she wants more done than what she termed just an “interoffice disciplinary action.”

    I agree. There needs to be charges filed against “Lori.”

  9. Maggie says:

    As the mother of three, and the stepmother of two, and the wife of a former Scoutmaster of 46 boys….I SAY SHOOT THE MOTHER.

  10. Jdubb19 says:

    Does anyone have the complete audio for this 911 call, or know of any URL to the audio?

  11. Sherrodzilla says:

    Thank you, everyone. I was afraid I was the only one in the nation with enough sense to be upset over a bad mom expecting 911 to do her job as a parent.

  12. Sheila Ranford says:

    The audio as proof of this mother’s poor mothering skills is:

    This woman probably wastes a lot more people’s time than any of us can ever imagine. She is probably single because no one can put up with her weaknesses.

  13. Patrick Sandoval says:

    In the City of San Antonio this would be just a normal call. I was the 911 Records Custodian for many years and have heard worse calls on 911. One woman would call because her 7 year old daughter didn’t want to get up to go to school. I don’t know what the woman expected the Police to do!

  14. JohnG says:

    BRAVO for the 911 Operator !!! PERFECTLY reasonable reply. Hilarious. Do listen to the audio, give the guy a Bonus, not a reprimand !!!

  15. Joe Lowry says:

    911 operators aren’t perfet, they do make mistakes, and often don’t say the right things, because they are human. Its a tough very mental and thankless job that has to be done. The caller was totally out in left field. I salute the communicator for quickly realizing his mistake and trying to make it right. I listened to a recording of the call and he kept his cool even though he knew he has been in error. She was completely wacko. His Police Chief needs to lighten up realize that that none of us are perfect.

  16. richards says:

    Most likely the dispatcher will probably end up getting fired and treated like a criminal just because somebody dosen’t have a sense of humor or know how to be a parent. She’s probably just blow’n the whole thing out of proportion for some publicity anyhow. Hopefully she dosen’t get away with it.

  17. Suzie says:

    The 9-1-1 operator should be given a commendation. Just what did Mom expect the police to do? If the police had responded the mother would not have pressed charges anyway. (After all, that would hurt her in the pocketbook.) She most likely was trying to “scare” her daughter by threatening the daughter with the police. It is not fair to the taxpayers that tax dollars be used so inappropriately. If anyone should be disciplined, it should be the mom. She committed the real crime.

  18. Lin says:

    What kind of a mother can’t control her 12 year old daughter?? I think she needs parenting classes, at the very least, if not investigated by Social Services. And I think her 911 call was the equivalent of the old “Wait till your dad gets home” threat from back in the days when most families actually HAD a live-in dad.However, the 911 operator’s response was totally inappropriate. His ‘joke’ WASN’T funny–even though the call was an abuse of the 911 system by the mother and obviously not an emergency. I think the dispatcher should have been reprimanded, with the reprimand including a warning that another incidence of this type would result in his firing. But I also think the mother should be fined for abuse of the 911 system.They were both wrong and the 911 operator should not be glorified and if the mother sues (and she probably will), she should be fined again for wasting court time for a frivilous lawsuit.

  19. Hometown 9 says:

    Once again let me echo a few of the previous people here and say that I’m so relieved and even proud to be seeing this for what it’s worth. That being the utter abuse of the 911 emergency system by this woman! Mom can’t discipline her children, Mom doesn’t know right from wrong when it comes to calling for help and Mom can’t take a (bad as it was) joke. Unless she herself was being assaulted by this 12 year old that happened to be her physical match, she ought to have been able to call the local police and *ask* them *nicely* for the kind of help she was seeking. From hearing the audio of the call, it sure sounds to me that she was in no threat of imminent attack from either of her two daughters. Certainly not the panicky type of voice that’s heard when somebody is reporting an out of control fire or their loved one experiencing a heart attack! While it is wholly understandable to react against the preposterous and sarcastic question the 911 operator asked her, she is still the one that deserves to bear most of the responsibility for this situation ever having occurred.

  20. Ralph Spencer says:

    I can’t feel any compassion for the Mother, she is obviously a weak and ineffectual parent. My compassion goes out to the children of this woman.
    There are no bad kids, just bad parents. These children not only have to suffer the bad parenting of this woman, but are being trained to be just as bad a parent as their Mother. The cycle goes on. These kids have a future of divorce and conflict in their lives and that is the tragedy.
    Mr. Forbess had a momentary lack of judgement and has apologised, no harm done. The Mother on the other hand obviously lives a life full of the lack of judgement.
    This isn’t to let the Father of the children off either. He is probably an idiot as well.

  21. Kevin Hayden says:

    All you folks better hope and pray you never face the type of situation you’re so quick to denigrate. The lady made it clear her daughter was “emotionally troubled” and like a doctor who fails to recognize most patients recognize their own symptoms in calling for help, you make all kinds of assumptions about her faulty parenting skills (among other worse insults).

    I assure you, a 12 year old with sufficient emotional problems can be more than any parent can handle alone. The kid could endanger everyone around her, including herself, and the mother may have done exactly the right thing.

    Oh wait, if the daughter is mentally ill, I bet that’s Mom’s fault, too. Right? Might as well find fresh ways to kick a family in a desperate situation. And keep on defending a professional for his error, when thousands of other similar pros aren’t making similar errors, who deserve that support.

  22. king, just the king says:

    mike, you are the man.