Monday, December 22, 2008

Welfare Check...

Those are two words that will make any police officer shudder. And no, I am not referring to the piece of paper a large segment of society receives in their mailbox on the third day of each month.

For the uninformed, a welfare check is when someone has not been heard from in a while and someone else gets worried and calls us. When I hear "Attempt to contact Jane Doe, a 92 year old female who lives alone. RP has been trying to call for three days but the phone just rings. RP called a neighbor to check on her, but there's no answer at the door", I dread the outcome.

99% of the time, we get there to find nobody home, or the person was just out with a friend, or has been in a nursing home and nobody told the person who was worried enough to call us. The other 1% are the ones I dislike the most.

We usually get there and find the place locked up tight. I have had to climb in through open windows, pick locks, and kick doors to get into some houses. The search is the worst part. Every time I turn a corner I expect to find the person dead.

I have found people in bed, where you can tell they died peacefully in their sleep. I have found people sitting up in their chairs, like they died watching television. The worst ones are the people who are lying on the floor.

I look at those people and I can't help but wonder how long they were there before they died. Did they die and fall there, or did they fall there then die. Did they fall down, and then couldn't get up or call for help? I have been on welfare checks where I was fairly certain, based upon the evidence around the body, that the person had likely been on the floor for a day or two before they died.

When we get the call on our in car computers, welfare checks show up as "WELFCK".

Ironically, that's also usually my response when I'm dispatched to a welfare check.

Well, fuck...

10 comments:

Fire Fox said...

Our guys hate them too. The PD requests FD go with them... you know... to share the joy.
What a way to go...

Leslie said...

I remember the first one I did about 4 years. A girl about 18 years old had not been heard from in a week. Her father called the PD worried about her. We showed up to her apartment, which was in the drug-infested neighborhood, and had to wait for the landlord to show up with a key to let us in. We did a sweep through her place. No sign of her but we did find all sorts of drug paraphenalia lying around the place! Later we learned she had made a drug run down to Texas to pick up a load of drugs and deliver them back up to drug dealer in that town. Yeah, she was busted when she finally drove back - a car full of drugs and an apartment full of drug paraphenalia. Nice. And I am sure daddy was really proud of his daughter at that point, too. *shaking my head*

Evil Transport Lady said...

Our ambulance peeps have gone on a few checks.....the out comes were not good. I.E. summer in a closed house.

Vetnurse said...

A friend of mine requested one on her father on Thursday 2 weeks ago.
A proper check was not carried out other than looks through windows when "all looked ok" Then they said someone (don't know who as he lives in the middle of no place) said he had gone away.

She hassled the police daily until the following Tuesday. She had a bad feeling and was not satisfied.

Finally they went in. They had not informed her till Tuesday his car was in his garage (attached to the house). She lost her temper totally and said he could not "have gone away" as the police insisted. He only went away in the car and no public transport was around.

Her only comfort is that is was a massive stroke and pretty much instant. (so if they got that dunno how they could not say day he died)

He was elderly, had bad health and lived in the middle of nowhere, all of those should have rung alarm bells.

RoaVaPD said...

You know it's not good when there's a weeks worth of mail spilling out of the mailbox and a big stack of newspapers at the front door. You know it's gonna be bad when the windows shimmer with crawling flies.

Paige said...

I think everyone in law enforcement and EMS hates Welfare checks. I know I always dread to see what the outcome will turn out to be.

Me said...

Nothing like that smell, especially in the summer...except the cloud of flies penned up in the apartment, of course.

Sean said...

I still remember the first one of these I had in FTO years ago - guy with a history of suicide & recent threats. I remember my training officer pausing just after we unlocked the door & before we made entry, and hearing him mutter a small prayer...

After that first one I found on my own a few months later I understood why.

fuzzys dad said...

It has to be a terrible time for you.


MERRY CHRISTMAS To The Smith Family from the Rightwinger family.

Berserk said...

First decomp I had from a welchk (the way it shows up on our computers, but I like yours better), was one of those that died in the middle of a heat wave next to a heat lamp, and waited a few weeks to be found. I knew it was gonna be bad from the flies in the window, the smell of the house, and the writhing mass of maggots in the dog's mouth in the front yard. Guess who got to climb in through the window & find the guy?