The 411 on 911

April 10, 2006 at 2:12 pm (Uncategorized)

You hate to hear about a 911 dispatcher screwing up. It seems like they get things right 99 out of a hundred times and that's every moment of every day, fielding calls of all varieties. When they louse up though, like the bonehead in Detroit, it's national news, and rightfully so. 911-1.jpg

If you listen to a police radio every day, it quickly becomes apparent that the majority of emergency calls are crap. Kids playing with the phone. Drunk people with ludicrous complaints. Drunk couples trying to find someone to sort out their booze fueled relationships.

In this case though, a 5-year-old boy was using 911 exactly as it was designed to be used. He was trying to get quick help after his mother collapsed in their home. Didn't work. The boy apparently encountered a thick headed dispatcher with problems of her own. And so the entire system gets a black eye while thousands of compassionate and skilled dispatchers faithful man the phones.

Here's the transcript:

First call, Feb. 20, 5:59 p.m.

Dispatcher: "Emergency 911, where's the problem?"

Robert: "My mom has passed out …"

Dispatcher: "Where's Mr. Turner at?"

Robert: "Right here."

Dispatcher: "Let me speak to him."

Robert: "She's not gonna talk."

Dispatcher: "OK, well, I'm going to send the police to your house and find out what's going on with you …"

No help arrived, and three hours later, Robert tried again.

Second call, Feb. 20, 9:02 p.m.

Dispatcher: "Emergency 911, where's the problem?"

Robert: "My mom has passed out…in her room."

Dispatcher: "Where's the grown-up at?"

Robert: "In her room."

Dispatcher: "Let me speak to her before I send the police over there."

Robert: "She's not gonna talk."

Dispatcher: "Huh?"

Robert: "She's not gonna talk."

Dispatcher: "Ok, well, you know what, then she's gonna talk to the police ok? She's gonna talk to the police because I'm sending them over there.

Robert: (Inaudible)

Dispatcher: "I don't care, you shouldn't be playing on the phone." / "Now put her on the phone before I send the police out there to knock on the door and you're going to be in trouble."

Robert: "Ugh."

Robert's mother, who suffered from an enlarged heart, was dead by the time police arrived.



  1. K2 said,

    And now the family is going ot sue the city of Detroit for wrongful death.

    Detroit — the red-headed step-child of America.

  2. A.O. said,

    This is awful. Poor little kid. Can you imagine what was going through his head for all those hours? And, now he has to live with this for the rest of his life. Kid’s are trained in school how to call 911 in case of an emergency. I’m sure he could have done a far better job handling any call that came in than this idiot. I hope she got her stupid ass served up on a platter. Talk about your asshats…

  3. Fred said,

    I agree with A.O.This dispatcher should have to answer for his/her arrogance and stupidity.All 911 calls should be taken seriously.Better a false alarm the another needless death.

  4. LaFlamme said,

    Yup. The very definition of asshat.

  5. Mainetarr said,

    I saw this little boy on CNN this morning. He was telling what happened and a little tear rolled down his cheek. Broke my heart. He said, “I was doing what my momma told me to do but no one believed me.” I wanted to cry. Poor kid.

  6. LaFlamme said,

    It’s one of those things both cops and crooks are talking about today.

  7. A.O. said,

    I’ll bet it’s breaking even the toughest of crooks hearts. Poor kid.

  8. Linda said,

    I’m not sure that it DOES give the whole sector a black eye. I’m thinking of it as one of the exceptions that proves the rule. Anyone who ever got help from 911 is thinking about how lucky they are, don’t you t hink?

  9. A.O. said,

    Yes. I agree with you on that point, Linda. I’m not giving all of 911 a black eye. Just this one woman. 911 has been a life saver for my family and I, more times than I care to remember. I will always be grateful for their services. I just wish that this little boy could feel the same way.

  10. Arby said,

    I hope they burn that dispatcher! I hope they start with firing her, then charge her with some kind of criminal offence followed by a civil suit.

  11. Bobbie said,

    Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that there’s been a report of a 911 operator blowing someone off. Unfortunately, it probably won’t be the last one, either.

  12. Mainetarr said,

    It’s unfortunate, that’s for sure. I am sure that 911 operators everywhere are crushed by this, but that job had got to have a high burnout rate. Can you imagine the number of bogus calls a 911 operator in Detroit must get in one day? Not that I am taking her side. I am not, no one should EVER be blown off by a 911 operator, but that job has got to suck. Imagine the number of stupid idiots that misuse 911? In a big city like Detroit…OMG, I can’t begin to imagine. You couldn’t pay me enough to be a 911 operator. It’s like an air traffic controller. One mistake and someone dies. But I still feel terrible for that little boy and that family should most definitely win a wrongful death lawsuit.

  13. K2 said,

    Arby, I love your sandwiches, man.

  14. Linda said,

    MT, I agree about the air traffic controllers. You certainly couldn’t afford to let your mind wander at work. What stress.

    I just read the latest story on CNN about the million dollar lawsuit. Two thoughts: (1) I am surprised it’s only a $1 million; and (2) how much of that do you think the dead woman’s family would get?

  15. Linda said,

    I often joke about dull rural life and missing the city. But I should be careful what I wish for — tomorrow I have to come to Lewiston to take my husband to a doctor appointment, and I’d so much rather that we could stay home. It’s not too likely that anything really fun will happen while we are between Rte 4 and High St.

    Well, life’s not all beer and skittles. Damn.

  16. Bobbie said,

    Completely off subject, but I need some help tonight.

    Who knows of an outrageous news article concerning the president? I’m helping DJ out with his homework because he had to go do something else that was very important tonight. It can’t be a conspiracy article or anything like that.

  17. A.O. said,

    Bobbie, Don’t know if this site will help but, give it a shot.

  18. A.O. said,

    Gil..wherever you are. I tried to post on your blog. Great job, by the way. But, it’s not very user friendly. No matter what I did, I kept getting errors. I loved your article. It’s like our own version of “Our View”. Hope we don’t have to sign a bloggers agreement before we can post! Keep up the good work and..I’ll try to post again.

  19. Bobbie said,

    Thanks, I’ll try that. DJ wasn’t very specific when he said outrageous.

  20. A.O. said,

    Linda, You could always stop at the Chick-a-Dee for lunch/dinner. That would be fun!

  21. Linda said,

    Yes, AO, we might do that. And I might stop at Craftmania for some yarn. That usually cheers me up. (I cheer up easily, I’m more cheerful just from thinking about it)

  22. Mainetarr said,

    I just sent you guys one of the friggen funniest jokes I have ever heard.

  23. Mainetarr said,

    Or, Linda, you could stop at the infamous rest stop by the chickadee and see what’s doing down around there. (pun intended)

  24. A.O. said,

    Which one? You sent three.

  25. Linda said,

    Gee MT, we don’t have that kind of thing going on out here! The city’s enticements just go on and on.

  26. A.O. said,

    Sounds like I’ve got to take up knitting.

  27. Bobbie said,

    As long as you don’t look in the hole in the men’s room, you’re safe, Linda. LOL

  28. Gil said,

    Thanks for all of the input on my blog, I appreciate it. AO, I don’t know what to tell you, I got 3 comments today so as far as I know it’s working.
    As for the 911 dispatcher, the Detroit PD issued a statement yesterday saying that they were not sure whether there would be any disciplinary actions taken. I can’t find anyhting to back that up, but that’s what I heard yesterday on the radio.

  29. A.O. said,

    Well, Gil, I’ll keep on trying. It just didn’t seem to like my Irish name.

  30. brenda said,

    Thanks for the jokes, MT. I liked the snoring one.

    I saw that boy on the news this morning and I feel so sad about it, he lost his mother. He lost his mother. He is now motherless. And he has been through an experience of being dismissed, not listened to when he really needed to hbe heard. And he lost his mother.
    Prediction: Unless somebody gets involved in helping him heal, he’s going to have some serious anger issues in the future.

  31. Gil said,
    Two sites for more serial killer memorabilia. Action figures! Collect them all!

  32. A.O. said,

    I’ve gotta ask: Why would anybody pay money for anything painted by Gacy? Why?

  33. Bobbie said,

    It’s a status thing among the ghoulish collectors of the world.

  34. brenda said,

    Gil’s dream is my nightmare…..

  35. Gil said,

    Then here’s hoping all of your nightmares come true, Brenda darling.

  36. Gil said,
    Funny, definitely not safe for work

  37. Robert said,

    I kind of liked the swapping heads joke myself…

  38. Mainetarr said,

    Gul, number 9 was pretty cute, but 0 really cracked me up.

  39. brenda said,

    Gil called me “darling” !

  40. Mainetarr said,

    I think that was sarcasm Brenda….

  41. Gil said,

    Don’t listen to MT Brenda, that was hearfelt. Seriously though, I love a good debate and I may come across as mean and nasty, but I don’t take any of this seriously. I believe in my convictions, but I understand that in the end, it’s just a debate.

  42. LaFlamme said,

    That’s a lie and I challenge you to prove it!

  43. Mainetarr said,

    Ditto, Mark. Ditto…

  44. brenda said,


  45. Blumpkin said,

    Cuckoo, Cuckoo

  46. Anonymous said,

    It’s not two o’clock for six more minutes! Blumpkin, your clock’s messed up!

  47. Anonymous said,

    well my computer’s clock’s two minutes behind the blog clock!

  48. Jennifer Castellaneta said,

    Google is the best search engine

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