Tuesday, May 07, 2013

9-1-1, I'm Amanda Berry. I've been on the news for the last 10 years. Hello? [Ca-lick]

After a decade of being held captive in a Cleveland home, three women, including Amanda Berry, escaped Monday night. 

Could the police have done more, like not worry about talking on the telephone too long?

Here's how I see it...Charles Ramsey is the hero here, as he acted exactly the way everyone should...

He jumped in to help another person when they needed it.  I imagine that he will be rewarded, especially by the good folks at McDonald's.  (He mentioned them during his 9-1-1 call, and several times on the TV news).  McDonald's has already Tweeted that they will be in touch.

...but I have a beef, and it isn't with Mickey-D's.  What is up with these 9-1-1 dispatchers?  Now I love people who work well in any crises mode, and I understand that dealing with the public in general can be a very tough task.  I also know that it is easy to be a critic after the fact, however, I do feel that the two 9-1-1 dispatchers could have done a better job.

Oh sure, Charles is a very interesting person.  He talks like how most of us wish we could, just right off the top of our heads, unguarded and no-b.s.

Even when Charles gives the address, the dispatcher points out that the call is coming from another address, where Charles replies; "I'm smarter than that...I'm telling you where the crime is. Not my house."  Clarification is fine, but this dispatcher seemed to not sound very interested or involved.  He even just quickly says at the end, "We'll send the police out" and then the call ends.

Recording of Charles Ramsey's 911 Call

OK, overall, not horrible, but this could have been handled better.   My biggest issue was that the dispatcher handled this emergency with the same level of concern that I get from a postal worker when I ask them if my package will be delivered in a timely passion. 

After first just reading the transcript of Amanda's call to 9-1-1, (admittedly without the ability of hearing the tone), I was even more concern with the dismissal of keeping Amanda on the phone and calm until the police arrived. (After listening to the audio did not make it any better.)

Recording of Amanda Berry's 911 Call

This is not a situation where you just take down info and pass it on.  The dispatcher can stay on the line to ensure that she was safe.

Let's first look at when the dispatcher said: "We're going to send them as soon as we get a car open." Even if there are no cars available, this is not how you handle a person in danger.  This is not a call about how some dog is barking next door and you want the police to come to talk with the neighbors.  Amanda had to stress the important of the situation by replying: "No, I need them now before he gets back."

Throughout the call, several times, the dispatcher said, "Talk to police when they get there."  This is good info, which many people who call 9-1-1 may not also actually do, but this dispatcher sounds like he/she just wanted to get off of the phone.

If this dispatcher knew that this was the Amanda Berry who's "been on the news for the last 10 years", then why did this dispatcher end the call with Amanda after just saying "I told you they're on their way; talk to them when they get there, OK."

Dispatchers are not only responsible of handling the callers in crises, but they are also the ones who has the job of sending our first-responders into harms way.   Gathering information from the common public, keeping victims safe and giving details to emergency workers are all very serious tasks.  I am not looking for friendly service, just quality service.  Kudos to Charles Ramsey.  Retraining to the dispatchers.  Stay on the phone a little longer when a victim is in immediate danger...Then you can finally hang up when the police arrive.

Update: I am not alone with my opinion here about the dispatchers!

In case you missed this... Chicago police no longer responding to all 911 calls

...and now for something completely different:

UPDATE (09/04/13): Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man who was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years in July after pleading guilty to imprisoning and raping three women for a decade, was found hanged to death in his cell, prison officials say.

Tony Lossano, Broadcast Producer (TV & Radio, Chicago), amateur bicyclist, a fantastic dog walker, and has never been married to Alyssa Milano.

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