Saturday nights are unparalleled for their entertainment value. Many folks go out, drink, carouse, and then cause trouble for themselves or others. Not all of these calls are entertaining, but some of them make up for the idiot 22 year old drunks vomiting all over themselves.
Dispatched for a "man down" outside a residential address. The FD arrives just behind us and everybody hops out. No man down, no men at all. Local resident pops out, "He was just layin' there, wouldn't wake up. Then these two guys, they picked him up and carried him off that way. I was afraid they was gonna mug him or something." We do the best we can to get a specific direction from him and head off in search of this sleepy drunk who has likely been located by his friends and taken into an apartment unknown. We receive an update from dispatch that they have received a report of shots fired at an address less than a block up the street. A fair amount of searching leads to a whole lot of nothing and we prepare to clear.
As we're walking back to the trucks, a young woman and a boy come running up screaming and crying about a baby being hit and where are the police and ohmigodohmigodohmigod. She wants us to follow her and check out the kids she states are being abused and immediately heads up the street, directly to the address with the reported shots being fired. Internal monologue, "Well, crap. I don't want to go to this address when there are no cops and somebody shooting. The damn firefighters are all charged up and heading off, and damn it, you don't need your tools for protection. If you think you need protection we shouldn't be going. At least there haven't been any shots since we've been on the block because nobody's interested in the fact that going up here is completely ridiculous." I try to stay in the middle of the group on the general principle that it might be the safest area, blending into the pack like zebras and lions and whatnot on the nature channel.
As we walk up, several more people come piling out of the house yelling about a gigantic black man who was beating his pregnant wife and throwing a 2 year old and a 10 year old against the wall and they called the police 40 minutes ago and nobody comes, nobody cares, oh that poor baby, ohmigodohmigodohmigod. One man gets particularly aggressive and comes charging at the fire officer and manages to be restrained by family just before something really bad starts to happen. As the family is pulling him away, I get the Lt.'s attention and point to the parade of cops coming around from the back of the house. No less than eight police officers file around the house looking pissed and ready for a fight.
This is when the first resident makes a mistake. The police ask about who reported the gunshots and the guy states, "I did but that was a lie. Nobody cares about that little kid." I miss most of the rest of what he says as the senior police officer comes unglued and the whole thing turns into an episode of COPS. It was one of those scenes where you didn't want to watch but you just couldn't turn away. In the end, two people arrested, one for the false call and one for getting a bit too aggressive with the PD. As they are sitting on the curb waiting for their ride to the station, the aggressive man continues screaming about how long ago they called and still nobody checking on the baby, just arresting people who are trying to do the right thing. Then, more screaming from inside the house, mama just found out her son is getting arrested. Police all pile back into the house, more scuffling and someone finally gets her under control. Paddy wagon arrives and hauls the two off. The neighborhood crowd is getting a little restless about the whole thing, and I'm not sure which side they are on, so I'm glad to see the loudmouth leave.
Finally, there are enough officers free to go investigate the original complaint. They stop by to make sure we're okay to hang out in case some one really is hurt, which was the whole point of us coming up the street in the first place. I don't know the story of what the PD found in the second house, but they were inside less than five minutes when they waved us off that everyone was fine. Forty-five minutes on a scene with no patient found, better than an hour of television.