“The Pasadena Way” is the Pasadena, Calif., police department’s mission statement. It states that the department should be proactive and serve people in a way that recognizes their dignity.
Just hearing that slogan is bound to make Margie Strike spitting mad.
While driving north on the Golden State Freeway in Los Angeles, she says she was threatened by another driver brandishing a gun in a road rage incident.
She used her cellular phone to dial 911, but the call went unanswered, she says.
While exiting the Golden State for the Pasadena Freeway, she desperately decided to call information for the nearby Pasadena Police Department. But she didn’t get much help there either.
“Ma’am, you have the wrong number, ma’am, how did you get this number?” the operator asked before Strike could fully explain her situation.
“Because nobody’s answering at 911!” Strike said.
“OK, this is the wrong number you’ve dialed. This is the Pasadena Police Department,” the operator said.
“OK, well there’s a man on the Pasadena Freeway with a gun and he’s trying to run me off the road,” Strike said.
“We don’t service any of the Pasadena Freeway, that’s handled by the highway patrol,” said the operator.
“OK, well before he kills somebody, can somebody connect me with the highway patrol?” Strike asked.
The operator could have connected Strike with the CHP, according to the Pasadena Star News, but didn’t.
“I can give you the direct number there,” said the operator.
“You know what? This is … ridiculous,” Strike said frantically. “There’s a crazy man out there who has a gun, he was trying to run me off the road and you people … nobody is answering 911 and you want to give me a number?”
The operator’s conduct angered Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melekian.
“This is not how we do business,” Melekian told the Star News. “This is not keeping with the Pasadena Way, and this will be dealt with appropriately.'”
“There were many things we could’ve done to provide her with some assistance, or at least reassurance, while we connected her with the appropriate agencies, and we didn’t do that,” Melekian said.
The police department operator, who has not been identified, is facing disciplinary action for the Nov. 21 incident.
The man who allegedly threatened Strike was never found.