Sunday, March 7, 2010

PCB GAP 10-03

Reasons to vote against this bill:

Committee Bill-PCB GAP(Government Affairs Policy) 10-03-Introduced last week would restrict 911 calls from public records for a period of 60 days. And then no audio would be released. Just a redacted transcript. And the person requesting the redacted transcript would have to pay for the transcript.
• On the surface, you would assume we would be for this as it saves the victims families from hearing these painful calls over and over. However, these calls are an invaluable training opportunity for the industry. We are making an impact with raising public awareness of the issues and shortcomings of this industry because of the publicity of this tragedy.
• The media has been good to us and not airing the most painful parts of these calls
• Dateline and Primetime would not have shed a national spotlight on these issues if these calls are suppressed.
• If you really want people to die in vain-go ahead and support this bill but I would ask everyone to be outraged about this bill. It smells of nothing more than to shield the sheriffs departments from public scrutiny. How is the public supposed to feel comfortable that it’s local sheriff or police dept. is doing a good job if they are shielded from how calls are handled? An editorial in our local paper said it best last week: “Do you get more out of a song by hearing it or reading the lyrics on a piece of paper?”
• You never hear calls made on 9/11. You never hear calls made to 9-1-1 during the Virginia Tech Massacre or the Columbine High School Massacre. You do not hear the calls made during the Fort Hood tragedy. You do not hear the 9-1-1 calls made during the “Miracle on the Hudson” when the plane was going down and Sullenberger miraculously landed the plane. Why? Because the majority of the media is sensitive. Yes, there are those bad apples that you have in every industry that sensationalize and prey on other people’s tragedies. But they are the few. It is up to the public to protest to those media sources. Not for the State of Florida to pass a bad law.
• Our daughter in law’s tragedy has been taught in classes across the country. She has not died in vain because of these classes. Her story is taught on Day 1 to all new call takers and dispatchers in the entire state of California. Her story has been taught as far away as Samoa. If this bill had passed two years ago, this would not be possible.
• If this law had been past two years ago, we would be unaware of the tragedies and inefficiencies of 9-1-1 that occurred with Brian Wood of North Port, Jennifer Johnson of Tampa, and Olidia Kerr Day in Plantation. Lessons can be learned by all these tragedies. Sadly, it takes tragedies such as ours to bring about improvements to flawed systems.
• We empathize greatly with other victims’ families. We feel their pain having told our story hundreds of times. We know the pain and suffering of having to relive Denise’s tragedy. But this is not about Denise and it is not about the past. It is about future lives. It is about preventing future tragedies and keeping other families from having to endure the pain and suffering we have.
• Our local sheriff and other sheriffs are elected officials. How are concerned citizens to make informed and educated votes without transparency.
• There would be no quality assurance. Yes, some comm centers do their own quality assurance, but is not that the fox watching the henhouse?