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5 Common Things Heard on a Missoula Police Scanner (Including One That Really Upsets Me)

Photo courtesy of Flickr/jdelshad

It is a responsibility of mine, as a journalist, to have a variety of tools at my disposal to monitor what is happening in the City of Missoula. From local news feeds like Twitter, to Facebook and even the trusty old police scanner.

I’ve noticed while listening to a live police feed in the Missoula area that there are some very common, almost routine occurrences that begin to build a pattern. Granted, ANY city in the world will receive 911 emergency broadcasts on a police scanner like the ones I share below, but there is ONE in particular that continues to upset and disturb me.

None of what you will read is anywhere near scientific, it is all just one man’s take-away from listening to a police scanner is his own town. In no particular order, these are the five things almost commonly heard on a Missoula County Police, Fire, and EMS broadcast feed.

Welfare checks and ambulance-assisted health matters – The Missoula Police Department receives dozens of calls from people in our area who need help with their health. From tightness of chest, to having difficulty breathing…some far worse.

Vehicle and ID checks – Many times an officer will have to run verification on a person to see if they are carrying proper insurance or a valid license. Other times it is to see if a warrant has been issued for the individual.

Accidents – Many, many calls are of people hurting themselves in a wide range of acts. From car and truck collisions, to personal misfortunes and weather related issues.

Suicide attempts – While not as common as the three above, the alarming rate of how many I hear over the scanner about someone wanting to end their life is, to me, unsettling.

Verbal and Physical Abuse – Be it raising of voices and spouting obscenities, or an alcohol and/or drug infused fist fight, this is the one that comes with an ugly distasteful twist…Men abusing women.

Spousal or girlfriend abuse seems to happen far more often than I can fathom, and in no way am I trying to make a sweeping calculation about our town. But I’m not going to candy coat what I’ve heard either…

Related Article: Missoula Woman Battered Beyond Recognition – When Will We Learn?

Some, not all, tend to give officers grief over a variety of controversies that I don’t even want to be an outlet for today. Instead, I honor the law enforcement of Missoula County for being servants to our community. We may not be in the passenger seat of their cop cars, ambulances, or even back at the 911 call center, but the scanner gives us all a glimpse of what they do on a daily basis that’s good, and admirable and just.

Still, these are the incidents I personally hear most often on the Missoula police dial. And I’m not an expert to tell you if some of these situations are a new or rising trend, or something as commonplace as the old fashion police scanner. I’d encourage you all to begin a discussion of how we as a community can help improve our reoccurring dilemmas.

Are you a victim of domestic violence in Missoula? Don’t stay silent any longer.

Visit your local YWCA page

24 Hour Crisis Hotline

406-542-1944 or  1-800-483-7858


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