15 Police Officers Share Their ‘Calling All Units’ Stories


Cops have a tough job, no doubt about it. Day after day, they put their lives on the line to protect everyday citizens.

In this AskReddit article, police officers share their most hair-raising “calling all units” stories, so buckle up.

1. Armed robbery

“An armed robbery at the government’s financial institution.

But, unlike the stuff they show in movies, we went in silent, spread around without approaching the premises too close and got all four of them by intercepting their car later on. One of our detectives came in an unmarked car and parked a few cars behind the vehicle with the engine running and the nervous driver behind the wheel and followed them.

We learned about the car thanks to the off-duty officer who was in the right place at the right time to notice the suspicious behavior (the car was parked in an unusual way among everything else that indicated to him that something fishy is going on).

Although, we were lucky in some sense because it took them ages to do what they came to do. Regardless, it all went smoothly and with no casualties.”

2. Natural disaster

“I’ve served as both a probation officer and police officer. There was a natural disaster in the area on a weekend. I got a call from the chief probation officer telling me that we were designated as disaster workers and we were to report for duty. I was an armed field unit officer at the time and when we got into work all the armed officers were told we were going to patrol the disaster area. We were ordered to put on all of our marked clothes and report to an area for patrol.

It was a bit weird as all our cars were unmarked and had no lights. We had radios and cages in the cars but not the other equipment as we normally didn’t need it. The patrolling was fairly uneventful and we didn’t encounter any looters but we put in a number of 13-hour days. The community needed every armed LEO they could get and we did our part.”

3. Kidnapping

“When I was working for a small town police department I received a phone call from our chief of police, who was off that day. He said a woman showed up on his front lawn saying she had just escaped from her kidnappers. Long story short she said something about him (her kidnapper) having a gun and threatening to use it if she tried to escape.

Me, being young (20 at the time) and oblivious to what I was actually putting out on the radio, called out to the on-duty officer about the situation. My wording must have been terrible because I received radio messages from county and state police stating they were en route to the chief’s residence. They thought someone had come to our chief of polices home with a gun and was holding him hostage. The best part of this story is I gave the wrong address and all these cop cars from city county and state were blocking off the street one block over.”

4. DUI gone bad

“A police officer here, I’ve heard it over the radio many times but never used it my self. We are issued with a button on our radios that causes all radios to beep and vibrate, so it is instantly noticed by every officer in the area. Most memorable was a regular DUI stop that turned south resulting in the officer being attacked and having his leg broken.

It was towards the end of the shift and most of the officers were finishing up on paperwork at the station. As soon as it went off every officer in the station left within 10 seconds of hearing it. The suspect was quickly detained and arrested soon after.”

5. Riot

“Former cop here. The all-units call was basically a riot at a large nightclub in a very rough area of the neighboring city. Once things were finally calmed down and the dozen or so people were taken away, my boss wanted us all back in our city. I was amazed at not only how many cops showed up but from where….counties and towns I had never heard of before. I looked up a few at the end of shift and some came from an hour plus away.”

6. Stabbed

“We had an all-units call to one of our own stabbed. Everyone went hell for leather to get there, to find one of our guys on the floor with a stab wound to the stomach. We searched everywhere for the suspects and anyone matching the descriptions was arrested. So, it turns out the officer did it to himself.

He’d heard you couldn’t be fired from work if you were injured in the line of duty (he was under investigation for a minor issue, not anything involving the public. Just breach of procedure.) I don’t think I’ve ever been so disgusted with a colleague in my life. All the other “all units” calls I’ve been to have been genuine and luckily my colleagues unhurt.

I almost called one myself when someone pulled out a sawn-off shotgun at me. Luckily that panned out OK!”

7. Wedding brawl

“A large wedding in Brooklyn—it was at midnight, so there weren’t that many units, to begin with. The families started warring with each other and when we arrived they, of course, turned on us. Everyone, I mean EVERYONE, was brawling and we felt like Custer at Little Big Horn.

We turned out three cars that night and one of them was out on a homicide so we’re just yelling “Keep ’em coming, Central!” The duty captain (the supervisory officer for the patrol boro) shows up, looks around, sees that this is quickly becoming a riot and calls a citywide 10-13, which means a designated number of cars from every borough task force in the city.”

8. Three times

“It’s happened three times that I’ve been on duty that I can recall. The first time was a riot at a local theme park, some idiot kids put out that there was going to be a fight in the parking lot and for some reason that meant several hundred high school age kids all gathered in the lot and got into a huge brawl. The first few officers responding got surrounded in the chaos and they put out an officer in trouble, and because of the size of the crowd, they asked for officers from all over the county.

The others were officer down calls where the gunman was still at large.”

9. Sad story

“I recently had an “all available units respond” call for an unresponsive child.

My partner and I have never driven so fast. When we got there, all you could smell was brakes and exhaust fumes from our cruisers.

We entered the house and found the child: a one-year-old boy. We performed CPR. He was transported. He didn’t make it.

It’s hard to be criticized by the media and the general public when these are the things we deal with.”

10. He’s got a blade!

“I’m an officer in a courtroom, so our all-units calls are usually for disruptive spectators (victim and defendant families fighting out arguing) or defendants acting up in front of a judge or whole being taken back to jail. Another courthouse nearby had an incident where a defendant produced a blade from his rectum and tried to slash his lawyer’s throat while in the courtroom. One I was involved in, a guy was a known problem in corrections custody but somehow he got free of them and fought his way into the courtroom I was working in.

It’s the most comforting sight when you make that 10-13 call and in the midst of the fight, you see the small army of uniforms come running in to help.”

11. A stain on the department

“Had an all units call, it was horrifying, turned out an off-duty cop was drinking and driving and hit three cars on a bridge. It was chaos, many things flew out of the car, belongings scattered everywhere. He did time, lost his job obviously, stained the department.”

12. Bomb scare

“Retired cop here. I have more than a few ‘Everyone get here now’ calls in my time. Most stemmed from a large gathering that was starting to turn not so peaceful.

My last major one, we had a bomb that was planted in a car in a parking lot. I needed to clear the lot and the adjacent building. And then it became an attempt to keep folks out of the area. That was a tense 12-hours until the device was blown up.”

13. Idiot on drugs

“A few weeks ago we had an all-units call because an idiot on drugs decided to call 911 and say someone was someone had been shot. As he was on the phone with a dispatcher, someone else calls in that her home is being broken into. Guess who broke into her home while he’s ‘still’ on the phone with 911 saying someone’s been shot.

So an officer arrives and goes in to search for the suspect not knowing at the time it was the guy on the phone with 911. Well, dude runs out, hops in the cop car and tears out! All officers are dispatched along with state police officers. He had a nice joyride and led them on a good chase with a buddy behind him for almost an hour until some state troopers did a maneuver to wreck him when he got on the interstate.”

14. Runner

“I spent 13 months as an officer.

One was during a patrol in the ghetto section, and I spot a car speeding down the street. As soon as I hit my lights, the driver jumps out of the car while it’s in motion and runs into the woods losing a sandal. The car stopped right before hitting a house and figured that another passenger stopped the vehicle, so called for immediate backup and secured it. Turned out to be a notorious dealer with priors, and his ladies snitched when he bailed on them.”

15. Intense

“We had a shooter trying to kill cops. He had several guns on him and he managed to take out a few cops. He ran and hid in the woods traveling around town behind people’s houses for days. Businesses and roads were shut down people were told to stay inside. It was pretty intense.”