Letter: In response to ‘My family was needlessly scared’

By on March 1, 2012

Last week a letter was posted in the Elburn Herald from Jennifer Hall.

She stated that she was terrified when city workers came to her home at 10 p.m. and knocked on her door. Mrs. Hall was concerned for the safety of her family, and no one can blame her for that. However, posting a letter in a public forum stating the time your husband leaves for work, the fact that you are alone with your children, and the ages of your children is not the best way to protect yourself. The only thing needed is your address, and that is just a quick Internet search away.

Mrs. Hall did the right thing by calling 911, and it is understandable that she was afraid, but hiding from possible intruders and not turning on lights or yelling through your door would only affirm that no one was home.

I am sure the family that was experiencing the sewer back-up was appreciative that the city was there within an hour and a half. Mrs. Hall couldn’t understand why the city did not call her before the workers showed up at her door (probably wearing either a reflective vest or uniform). I am guessing that they did not have her number. Looking at a map of the sewer lines wouldn’t give them her phone number. Perhaps this could be a topic of discussion for the city staff and a protocol can be put in place to advise the police if there is a public works emergency.

In this situation, the city workers must be commended. I am glad that they are dependable and would leave their own families at night to respond to a resident’s complaint of a sewer back-up. The situation may have been avoided if the city workers had the opportunity to identify themselves or if their vehicle was close by. I have to assume they were trying to get the problem taken care of as soon as possible and did not realize that anyone was home or awake at the Hall residence.

Shevon Ramirez


  1. AFmom1

    March 11, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Clearly the letter would not have made an impact had it been left out that there was a mom and children at home late at night. I am able to gather as much information by your name at the bottom of this letter (required to submit the letter) by using google. I did not need your work schedule, age, or if you have any children to find out as much information had you posted the information yourself.
    The bottom line is that no one should open their door to ANYONE late at night, even if they are in uniform with flashing lights in front of the house. Had there been a uniformed police officer standing on my front porch with his badge in hand, I still would have called 911 to verify the officers identity and need to be at my house at 10 o clock at night.
    My point of writing the letter was to inform the public that a emergency procedures needed to be changed. I indeed feel for my neighbor who had a sewage back up and that people were able to respond to their problem. What I hoped to gain, was a new policy for emergency procedures. I was informed that a meeting was going on when the call came in and it took an hour and a half to respond to the area.
    I do not blame the workers who came to my house because they were following orders to fix a problem.
    I hope that no one, ever would answer their door late at night when they do not know who is out there…uniform or not. When on the phone with 911 I would never run around my house in front of windows to turn on lights and alert a possible inruder of my presence. How was I to know it wasn’t someone out there in my back yard with a gun or weapon trying to break in? What happens then if I were to run to my back sliding glass door to turn on lights?
    My letter was written after placing calls to the city. If I was given an apology and a promise that the plan for emergency procedures would change, then I would never have submitted this to the paper. I was given an apology, but not a plan for change. I was told that “in a perfect world a phone call would have been made”. I don’t need a “perfect world”, I just need to know that my city will try it’s best to make its residents feel safe.

  2. elaine franco

    March 12, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    The point of Mrs. Halls letter does not have anything to do with the appreciation of the city workers. Yes, it is a great thing that the workers responded to quickly and left thier own families to help out another family. Protocal was not taking in the correct mannor to help all the families involved. There was an hour and a half gap between the sewer back up call to the response time. The dispatcher for the city new that the workers would have to inform Mrs. Hall about going into her yard. The dispatcher shoud have called Mrs. Hall within that hour in a half time frame. Mrs. Hall did look out her peep hole and did not see and emergency truck with flashing lights, she also asked the 911 dispatcher if there was an emergency in her neighborhood and the dispatcher said no. It is not safe or smart for anyone to open the door to strangers at anytime of the day or night. Nor is it safe to run around your house turning on all the lights and opening the curtains to look out. The 911 dispatcher eben made Mrs. Hall stay on the phone with her till the police officer arrived at her home. Not once did the dispatcher tell her to open the curtain, look out, and turn on all the lights. Unless anything like this has ever happened to u or someone you know then I dont think you have the right to judge nor tell someone how to protect thier own family.

  3. letsbehonest

    March 13, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    You want to commend the city employees for doing their jobs? Did they come out on their own time to fix that sewer? No, they were getting paid time and a half to do this. Like most reputable towns in the Chicago suburbs maybe the workers should have been wearing some sort of vest indicating that they were city employees.

    I’ll commend you for coming to the rescue of the Elburn public works department but they’re the ones who made the mistake and if it takes a letter from Mrs Hall and 50 others to fix things in this town then I’m all for it.