Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Is it that hard to be a 911 dispatcher??

I have heard far too many stories in the news lately about 911 dispatchers who failed to do their jobs- jobs that to me, don't seem like they should be such a task.

First there is the case in Madison of Brittany Zimmerman, and the dispatcher who failed to follow up on the call that she thought to be a prank! It seems it was not much of a prank, as 21-year-old Zimmerman was found dead in her apartment. It was also reported that the dispatcher failed to hear crucial sounds that should have prompted immediate action. My question is: why isn't this dispatcher fired? She is being investigated, but it seems obvious that she was not doing her job. 

Then there's the recent case in Memphis that Nancy Grace has made famous, where a dispatcher FELL ASLEEP while a woman was trying to report a man breaking into her home. SNORING and EVERYTHING! Here is the YouTube link of the call...embedding was disabled by request...hmm, sketchy!

If someone calls 911, they are in trouble. It should never be taken lightly- never! Even if it does seem to be a prank, why would it be the operator's call to decide? Obviously our 911 dispatchers need some training in importance and just plain skill, though I wasn't aware much was needed! 

If people start thinking they cannot rely on 911 they will begin to take things into their own hands- and that is a pretty scary thought.