“Pepperoni pizza” is not a code word 911 dispatchers use for people in distress who, for whatever reason, cannot reveal they’re reporting an emergency.
Officials with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station were compelled to dispel an urban legend that has evolved around alleged code words.
“We’ve heard that there’s a social media post on the internet being shared that says, ‘If you need to call 911 but you’re scared to because someone else is in the room, dial and ask for a pepperoni pizza,’ and it proceeds to say that dispatchers will know what to do,” Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station, wrote in a post on Facebook.
“This is false,” she wrote.
“There are no ‘code words.’ If you can’t speak in an emergency, text to 911 is a much better option.
“Your exact location and the nature of your emergency is what’s needed to send the right resources,” she wrote.
Of course, if dispatchers receive a 9-1-1 call where someone isn’t being clear in what their needs are, the dispatcher is trained to start asking questions to determine if there is an emergency, and if help needs to be sent.
Miller said the 911 pizza code word story is an urban myth that over the years has gained momentum.
“This has been circulating around for years,” she said.