Saturday, January 17, 2009

Rant to Dispatch Monthly

sorry to clutter my blog with this but my comment was too long so I have to use a link to say all I want to say

In response to:

Editorial By all accounts, a single dispatcher did not take sufficient actions on a 911 call, and Amber Lee died. As is common after tragic events, the public became outraged, and there energy focused on the only place they could targert--dispatchers in general. Lee's husband and father turned their attention to the issue of dispatcher training requirements, and learned that APCO had already been pushing legislation to standardize training. But that bill was not only unfunded, it was "unrequired." The bill that was eventually passed failed to require any agency to do anything, let alone give them money to do it. So one year after the incident, the involved dispatcher was disciplined, and the residents of Florida are back to exactly the same point they were a year ago. And what point is that? No matter how much training you require or funding that you provide, the actions of a single person can have huge consequences, both good and bad. If dispatchers aren't performing their jobs, people can be put in jeopardy. Mistakes, oversights, inattention and downright maliciousness can all have an effect on the public safety. But it's still a single mistake made by a single person. It's not an indictment of the entire system, which I should point out is operating every day with remarkably good results. So, while the friends and family of Amber Lee are justly right to be concerned, they should devote their energy to the right cause. In this case, it was one person who didn't perform, not the entire dispatching community. Read about Lee's memorial activities here.

First, in regards to Denise's case no-one is blaming a "single dispatcher". There were many mistakes made that night.

The biggest mistake being made by a "call-taker" who has been on the job for 15 years and who refuses to use the CAD system appropriately. So, before you start ranting over this I suggest you learn a little more about it. Anyhow, this call taker has been reprimanded at least twice that we know of before for not entering things immediately into the CAD. She prefers to write things down and then likes to enter them into the CAD system. Even though she's been "trained" otherwise. The 9-1-1 call in question was received at 6:30 PM by the call taker. The call lasted 9 (nine) minutes. When listening to the 9-1-1 tape you can hear the call taker is rattled. She puts the caller on mute and is asking for direction because she's rattled. During those 9 minutes she tells the caller to "bear with me, ma'am, everyone is hollering at me".... The caller is giving her cross streets of where she is seeing Denise (who she thinks is a child because Denise was petite). Anyhow, the call-taker instead of entering information into the CAD (deputies in the field are waiting for this) she writes it all down on a piece of paper and yells it across the room. According to the investigation she says she yells it to Dispatcher A. But Dispatcher A and B testify she yells it to Dispatcher B. Are you getting the picture? The supervisor testifies she "doesn't know what's going on because she was busy patching radios" and so the call is never dispatched and at 6:42 the information is finally entered into the CAD. That's 12 minutes from the origination of the call. I, personally, think those 12 minutes were a bit "crucial" to my daughter-in-law. Do I sound angry. Well, I am.

They never dispatched a car.

During the investigation into this call the call-taker when asked about her training. Chuckled.

Yes, she chuckled. She said she's been there 15 years!

That's bothersome to us.

Add to that the 9-1-1 center sent their Teletype operator home early and the Teletype IMO went unmonitored for over 3 hours. Why do I believe that? Because 3 (three) BOLOs were ignored. IGNORED. These BOlOs gave a description of the subject and his car. This is bad. Really bad. The Teletype went unmonitored because the CCSO sent the operator home early so they wouldn't have to pay overtime. Now this isn't unusual and so when they do this they have the dispatchers monitor the Teletype. Well, they say they did. But....... I don't know. Those BOLO's were IGNORED. Sadly and unfortunately for Denise that was a pretty crucial time.

Add to that the 9-1-1 center, then NEVER notified the agency who had jurisdiction about the call! GEE! I wonder why? Especially when they knew the call was from THE LAST PERSON TO SEE DENISE ALIVE! The detectives covering Denise's case had to "request" information on the call after receiving 4 calls from the caller. She thought she was getting one agency when her call went to another! Gee! Is there a problem there?

No, this 9-1-1 center didn't put the bullet in Denise's head. But it didn't do a whole lot to help her either.

So, I proved your point the best training and the best technology in the world is useless if it isn't used. And it wasn't used here.

So standards and certification? Yeah, it's our opinion their needed otherwise you'll continue to have call-takers like ours.

BTW she never followed up to see what happened. She never followed through to see if her communication was recieved. She went home. She "just left".

And according to the report has no remorse and doesn't see that she did anything wrong.

Would you want her working for you?

If you have any questions about this you can either request a copy of the IA investigation from Charlotte County Sheriff's Office # 08-01-003 initiated 01-20/2008
or you can email me at

Trust me. It's all in the report.

Peggy Lee (Denise Amber Lee's mother-in-law who read the IA 3 times to figure it all out).

So, there were several errors that night. If you need more, just let me know.

Sorry for the rant but.... you kinda asked for it.