Parenting

Cleveland 911 Call Taker

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/07/18109569-should-the-operator-have-stayed-on-the-line-911-call-concerns-some-pros?lite

When I first heard the call, I was taken aback a bit by how meh the call taker was. And then she didn't stay on the line. I have been in the Communications area where I work when they have taken emergency calls, and we usually stay on the line until police arrive at the location.

I mean, its not like she was calling about being held against her will or anything.

Any opinions?

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Re: Cleveland 911 Call Taker

  • I'm sure they are investigating but I wonder how many hoax calls they've dealt with over the past 10 years. I believe I read there was one just last year with someone pretending to be one of the girls? So maybe he wasn't sure if it was the real deal or another fake. But regardless, I do think he should have sent a car right away instead of saying they'd wait until one was open and stayed on the line with her.
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  • Normally, every call is treated as if it is real, regardless of how many hoaxes. Maybe because I work with them, I noticed a difference. And she should never have hung up as quickly as she did. IDK, I guess alls well that ends well, but that PCO would have been written up in our department.
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  • Do we know if Cleveland PD is one of the many overworked PD's in the country and it's possible they couldn't send a car right away?
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  • While they should have stayed on the line, I have no problem otherwise. 

    This is an unbelievably hard job.  You are dealing with people during their worst moments, and you never know what you are going to be dealing with at any time.  I also agree with PP that there have been many hoaxes on this case.

    The three brothers are the suspects here, and people should not be associating the horror of this case with the dispatcher in any way.  

  • image ferris0906:

    The three brothers are the suspects here, and people should not be associating the horror of this case with the dispatcher in any way.  

    +1 

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  • I actually thought the same thing. The 911 operator just seemed so preoccupied and I don't think treated it like a true emergency. And the fear in the girl's voice would've made me think it was the real deal. But maybe there was a high volume of calls at that time and didn't want to miss a call concerning another emergency?? I don't know...
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  • image eddy321:

    image Pfft:
    I don't see a problem with the dispatcher's tone.

    I don't either.  Sure, she rushed the end of the phone call and should have stayed on the line, but I don't think she should lose her job over it.  You have to admit it'd be a pretty outlandish call to receive, and I'm sure they've gotten plenty of fakes in the past.  She got help out immediately and managed to get the most important information, so I'm not sure why this is such a huge to-do.  Simply tell the woman to stay on the line next time and move on.

    I don't think she should lose her job over it, either. I don't buy the hoax argument. It doesn't matter if every other call was a hoax regarding this case, you still have to treat each call as if it is the real deal. Unless she was the only call taker on that night, she shouldn't have rushed off the phone so quickly. We are a smallish agency, and we stay on the line with important calls like this one. There are times we have only three call takers, and it isn't an easy job. I still think this one lacked empathy and hung up too quickly, IMHO.

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  • image Pfft:
    image acaudill75:
    image eddy321:

    image Pfft:
    I don't see a problem with the dispatcher's tone.

    I don't either.  Sure, she rushed the end of the phone call and should have stayed on the line, but I don't think she should lose her job over it.  You have to admit it'd be a pretty outlandish call to receive, and I'm sure they've gotten plenty of fakes in the past.  She got help out immediately and managed to get the most important information, so I'm not sure why this is such a huge to-do.  Simply tell the woman to stay on the line next time and move on.

    I don't think she should lose her job over it, either. I don't buy the hoax argument. It doesn't matter if every other call was a hoax regarding this case, you still have to treat each call as if it is the real deal. Unless she was the only call taker on that night, she shouldn't have rushed off the phone so quickly. We are a smallish agency, and we stay on the line with important calls like this one. There are times we have only three call takers, and it isn't an easy job. I still think this one lacked empathy and hung up too quickly, IMHO.

    This may seem cold, but in that moment empathy wasn't a priority. The priority was dispatching police to the location.

    At the time she made the call, she was out of the house and safe with the neighbors, which was all that mattered. There was no reason to stay on the line. Amanda was safe. And if the dispatcher had gotten all "OMG OMG OMG" over the phone call, she'd be getting flack for not keeping her cool.

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  • I agree with you and am glad to hear someone who DOES that job or at least knows it say so. I listened to the call with DH the other night and was like, wait a sec, "when a car is available" and you're not gonna stay on the line? What if that effer comes back? Horror movie stuff.

    I'm not concerned about the caller's "tone". In fact I'm glad they can stay calm and deal with serious matters like that. And I don't care about "empathy". But I do care about the safety of a girl who says she was kidnapped for 10 years and the effer is not in the house and she's standing in the street. You make sure she's okay by sending a car ASAP and staying on the line. The only thing I'm hoping is maybe the fact that Mr Charles Ramsey was on another line with another dispatcher means they would stay on the line with him until the car got there.

    No one should lose their job and this doesn't detract from the real bad guys of the story. But maybe an honest dialogue about procedure wouldn't hurt either.

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  • I believe the dispatcher is a man despite the sound of his voice BTW. I know this is important to the discussion. <---sarcasm

     

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  • Was she on the street or in Ramsey's house when she called? I remember the dispatcher saying the call looked like it was coming from a different address than the one she was saying (which was just across the street). I think Ramsey said he called 911, too?
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  • image MrsGoodkat:
    Was she on the street or in Ramsey's house when she called? I remember the dispatcher saying the call looked like it was coming from a different address than the one she was saying which was just across the street. I think Ramsey said he called 911, too?
    I remember Ramsey saying they were outside his house. Maybe they were using a cell phone and a cordless house phone. Or maybe they have that advanced 911?

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  • image MrsGoodkat:
    Was she on the street or in Ramsey's house when she called? I remember the dispatcher saying the call looked like it was coming from a different address than the one she was saying (which was just across the street). I think Ramsey said he called 911, too?
    I think they both called around the same time.  In the recording of his call, he says something like "She's on the phone right now." 
     
    I'm with acaudill.  A dispatcher is supposed to treat every call like the real deal, regardless of previous hoaxes.  It's definitely a stressful job, but that's the nature of the beast.  I am still friends with dispatchers I worked with for ~5 years, and they all said the dispatcher may be subject to discipline for not following SOP (namely, hanging up before ensuring that the victim was safely with LE).  Although, to be fair, they were comparing the SOP of Columbus to Cleveland, which may have a different one.
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  • image krptcmschfmkr128:
    At the time she made the call, she was out of the house and safe with the neighbors, which was all that mattered. There was no reason to stay on the line. Amanda was safe. And if the dispatcher had gotten all "OMG OMG OMG" over the phone call, she'd be getting flack for not keeping her cool.

    Yes, Amanda was safe. However, the two other girls were still in the home and she was anxious that their captor would come back any minute, notice she was gone and do something horrible to the girls. So just having Amanda safe was certainly not all that mattered.

    I agree that dispatchers need to be matter of fact and not lose their cool. That is absolute necessity of the job. However, it is against protocol to not stay on the line until police arrive at the scene. I don't think she should lose her job for that but she should still be written up for not following protocol. DH is in LE and people get written up for not following protocol all the time. This situation is no different.

    I do agree that this should not be the media focus right now. I mean who really cares that the dispatcher did not follow the protocol 100%? The negative focus should be on the three brothers. The positive focus should be on the release of the three kidnapped girls (plus the 6yo child) and the neighbor who helped them.

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  • image peanutrach1:

    image krptcmschfmkr128:
    At the time she made the call, she was out of the house and safe with the neighbors, which was all that mattered. There was no reason to stay on the line. Amanda was safe. And if the dispatcher had gotten all "OMG OMG OMG" over the phone call, she'd be getting flack for not keeping her cool.

    Yes, Amanda was safe. However, the two other girls were still in the home and she was anxious that their captor would come back any minute, notice she was gone and do something horrible to the girls. So just having Amanda safe was certainly not all that mattered.

    I agree that dispatchers need to be matter of fact and not lose their cool. That is absolute necessity of the job. However, it is against protocol to not stay on the line until police arrive at the scene. I don't think she should lose her job for that but she should still be written up for not following protocol. DH is in LE and people get written up for not following protocol all the time. This situation is no different.

    I do agree that this should not be the media focus right now. I mean who really cares that the dispatcher did not follow the protocol 100%? The negative focus should be on the three brothers. The positive focus should be on the release of the three kidnapped girls (plus the 6yo child) and the neighbor who helped them.

    At the time though, didn't the dispatcher not know about the others? She just knew about Amanda, right? (I haven't listened to the call)

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  • image krptcmschfmkr128:
    image peanutrach1:

    image krptcmschfmkr128:
    At the time she made the call, she was out of the house and safe with the neighbors, which was all that mattered. There was no reason to stay on the line. Amanda was safe. And if the dispatcher had gotten all "OMG OMG OMG" over the phone call, she'd be getting flack for not keeping her cool.

    Yes, Amanda was safe. However, the two other girls were still in the home and she was anxious that their captor would come back any minute, notice she was gone and do something horrible to the girls. So just having Amanda safe was certainly not all that mattered.

    I agree that dispatchers need to be matter of fact and not lose their cool. That is absolute necessity of the job. However, it is against protocol to not stay on the line until police arrive at the scene. I don't think she should lose her job for that but she should still be written up for not following protocol. DH is in LE and people get written up for not following protocol all the time. This situation is no different.

    I do agree that this should not be the media focus right now. I mean who really cares that the dispatcher did not follow the protocol 100%? The negative focus should be on the three brothers. The positive focus should be on the release of the three kidnapped girls (plus the 6yo child) and the neighbor who helped them.

    At the time though, didn't the dispatcher not know about the others? She just knew about Amanda, right? (I haven't listened to the call)

    I haven't listened to it either. But I thought I heard that it was mentioned during the call...could be wrong though. I will try to listen to it later and see. Damn work is keeping me too busy to keep up on this stuff Crying

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  • image peanutrach1:
    image krptcmschfmkr128:
    image peanutrach1:

    image krptcmschfmkr128:
    At the time she made the call, she was out of the house and safe with the neighbors, which was all that mattered. There was no reason to stay on the line. Amanda was safe. And if the dispatcher had gotten all "OMG OMG OMG" over the phone call, she'd be getting flack for not keeping her cool.

    Yes, Amanda was safe. However, the two other girls were still in the home and she was anxious that their captor would come back any minute, notice she was gone and do something horrible to the girls. So just having Amanda safe was certainly not all that mattered.

    At the time though, didn't the dispatcher not know about the others? She just knew about Amanda, right? (I haven't listened to the call)

    I haven't listened to it either. But I thought I heard that it was mentioned during the call...could be wrong though. I will try to listen to it later and see. Damn work is keeping me too busy to keep up on this stuff Crying

    This is my problem, too! And when I get home, i completely forget.

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  • image Pfft:

    Question: when Berry called 911, why didn't she mention the other abducted women?

    That is what I was thinking at first,but then I'm sure she was so adrenalized and freaked out that she just wasn't thinking. My dad teaches a self defense class called F.A.S.T. Defense. In the classes,they educate you about the effects of adrenaline on the body and obviously,it can do some crazy things to people. After 10 years of being held captive with the other women,I'm sure she didn't forget about them and would have made sure the police knew about them too.

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  • I heard the 911 call and thought the same thing.  She should have stayed on the line.  Especially since Amanda Berry clearly didn't want her to get off the phone.  I mean, just stay on the line and comfort the person until the police are there.  Is is that effing hard? 
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  • image acaudill75:
    Normally, every call is treated as if it is real, regardless of how many hoaxes. Maybe because I work with them, I noticed a difference. And she should never have hung up as quickly as she did. IDK, I guess alls well that ends well, but that PCO would have been written up in our department.

    Yes, but there were still other emergencies to attend to. She knew she was safe at the neighbors, and she likely had other calls coming in.

    I see nothing wrong.

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  • You know when you dine out and the server is polite and reasonably prompt, but not all that friendly and doesn't do anything to really impress you?

    I feel like the 911 call taker was a bit like that. B-/C+ service. Not like "Oh my god, she was awful! but not impressive either.

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  • image LuckyDad:

    You know when you dine out and the server is polite and reasonably prompt, but not all that friendly and doesn't do anything to really impress you?

    I feel like the 911 call taker was a bit like that. B-/C+ service. Not like "Oh my god, she was awful! but not impressive either.

    I can only imagine the lawsuit that comes if someone was waiting on hold for 911 with chest pain and they die of an acute MI because the dispatcher didn't pick up the other lines.

    She can't win.

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  • image LoisLayn23:
    image LuckyDad:

    You know when you dine out and the server is polite and reasonably prompt, but not all that friendly and doesn't do anything to really impress you?

    I feel like the 911 call taker was a bit like that. B-/C+ service. Not like "Oh my god, she was awful! but not impressive either.

    I can only imagine the lawsuit that comes if someone was waiting on hold for 911 with chest pain and they die of an acute MI because the dispatcher didn't pick up the other lines.

    She can't win.

    QTF.  It could be an UO, but I really wish they didn't release 911 calls to the public.  It makes me feel squicky, especially when the call results in someone losing their life.



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  • image missyishere:
    image LoisLayn23:
    image LuckyDad:

    You know when you dine out and the server is polite and reasonably prompt, but not all that friendly and doesn't do anything to really impress you?

    I feel like the 911 call taker was a bit like that. B-/C+ service. Not like "Oh my god, she was awful! but not impressive either.

    I can only imagine the lawsuit that comes if someone was waiting on hold for 911 with chest pain and they die of an acute MI because the dispatcher didn't pick up the other lines.

    She can't win.

    QTF.  It could be an UO, but I really wish they didn't release 911 calls to the public.  It makes me feel squicky, especially when the call results in someone losing their life.

    Agreed. I'm kind of surprised 911 calls aren't protected like a medical record would be. There was nothing in that phone call the public needed to hear.  

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  • image Igoo0304:
    image missyishere:
    image LoisLayn23:
    image LuckyDad:

    You know when you dine out and the server is polite and reasonably prompt, but not all that friendly and doesn't do anything to really impress you?


    I feel like the 911 call taker was a bit like that. B-/C+ service. Not like "Oh my god, she was awful! but not impressive either.



    I can only imagine the lawsuit that comes if someone was waiting on hold for 911 with chest pain and they die of an acute MI because the dispatcher didn't pick up the other lines.


    She can't win.

    QTF.&nbsp; It could be an UO, but I really wish they didn't release 911 calls to the public.&nbsp; It makes me feel squicky, especially when the call results in someone losing their life.

    Agreed. I'm kind of surprised 911 calls aren't protected like a medical record would be. There was nothing in that phone call the public needed to hear. &nbsp;

    True, but my life would not have been complete without hearing the OTHER call, unedited.

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  • FTR, I don't think she should lose her job. If there was a buttload of calls coming in that night, and the department was understaffed, then she (or he) did what she could with the resources available to her. Otherwise, depending on her department's protocol, her supervisor should probably have a talk with her regarding the rushing through the phone call.

    Our department writes you up for being a minute late in dispatch, so that is where I am coming from. I will ask one of our dispatchers what they think (a professional opinion) and report back.

     

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  • I can only imagine how hard it is to be a dispatcher in a city compared to a small town...how many calls are coming in at once that you're trying to get to, etc.

    I agree that I don't understand why 911 calls have to be released, either. Or like how 2 hours' worth of police radio tapes from Sandy Hook are on YouTube. = 

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  • hmp1hmp1
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    My problem with it is that Amanda sounds like a little girl. The dispatcher never asks her how old she is and never asks her if she is in a safe place/feels safe. She said she was at the neighbors' house but she also said she was held for 10 years. She didn't know the neighbors, she probably didn't feel safe with anyone. She sounds terrified and doesn't sound like she wants to get off the phone. 

    The dispatcher should not be punished (unless she did break protocol), she did get the police to her. But I think there is a lesson to be learned. If someone (especially someone that sounds like a child) is obviously terrified and requesting police, the dispatcher should offer to stay on the line until police arrive. 

    I know I was always taught growing up to stay on the phone with 911 until the police arrived. 


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  • image MrsGoodkat:

    I agree that I don't understand why 911 calls have to be released, either. Or like how 2 hours' worth of police radio tapes from Sandy Hook are on YouTube. = 

    I believe this is all part of the Freedom of Information Act. Basically, anything that is paid for with public money and doesn't have a pressing need to be classified is available to the public. 

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  • If she's been held for 10 years, simple math tells me she's likely not a child.

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