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Old 04-10-2006, 08:19 PM   #41 (permalink)
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46% of my centers calls last year were either misdials, dropped cell phone calls (so much hate for 9-emergency key on cell phones), pranks, or telco/tech issues (dead lines, faxes, etc). We're a fairly small center, about 15,000 population, but i'd guess that there is a similarly high volume of non-emergency calls placed in the system elsewhere.

in many centers it is most certainly the dispatchers job to determine if a call is a prank or not and to prioritize response. Dispatchers are trained professionals and integral to managing a very limited resource base of responders.

I'm not trying to defend what the dispatcher did, but many of you are of the opinion that the dispatchers job is to simply parrot information gleaned from a caller to a responder, and in many call centers, that is just not the case. Most agencies prioritize calls, unit assignment, and place resource management onto the dispatchers.

its not as simple as always sending a full response, unless you want to double the resources out there (through increased taxes / user fees / special district funding soruces) prioritization, and resource management will continue to occur. now in this case, clearly some part of that system is failing and needs to be fixed -- but it isn't as simple as the "someone calls, you go" philosophy i'm seeing in alot of these posts.
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Old 04-10-2006, 08:23 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elphaba
Is there a possibility that some number of false 911 calls had come from that particular number in the past?
That is possible. most current day CAD (computer aided dispatch) software suites keep a database of call history, contacts, and flags for addresses. Generally tho its configured for officer safety information to pop up, and moreso that information should never be used to determine if a call is a fake or not. Each call needs to be handled in its own context, but the technology out there and current enhanced 911 implimentations could very well display that information.
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Old 04-10-2006, 11:51 PM   #43 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Jazz
Reading the rest of the article goes on to detail the types of negligent homicide/involuntary manslaughter (it uses the terms synominously). One of the terms that they use is "accidental killing", which I think is what we have here. It is It seems pretty clear to me that this definition fits the circumstances. Accidental killings usually aren't prosecutable.
From where are you deriving your opinion that "accidental killings" aren't usually prosecutable?

Of course, one would need to look at the relevant Illinois statutes regarding murder/killings to determine whether she is culpable of a crime.
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Last edited by smooth; 04-11-2006 at 11:18 AM..
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Old 04-11-2006, 03:25 AM   #44 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elphaba
I'm in the 'wait and see' camp and not ready for a lynching. Is there a possibility that some number of false 911 calls had come from that particular number in the past?
Here in SLC, that doesn't matter. I had a neighbor once who had a mother in law that lived with them and suffered mental problems and panic attacks. Almost once a month the cops were out there, banging on the door to be let in because a call had come in from that house. The woman would deny that she had called, or just wouldn't answer the door or something. But the cops still came, anyway.

As a mom, I've read several places to teach my son to call 911 if mom or dad ever is in trouble and he's there alone with troubled parent. This is a slap in the face to parents who have taught their kids that 911 can be trusted (as in this case).
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Old 04-11-2006, 05:04 AM   #45 (permalink)
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I think that there's a basic disconnect about the real world ramifications of the various positions here. I completely agree with everyone that the police should have been sent out in this case. I completely agree that this is an absolute travesty and that the operator should lose her job. I completely agree that the operator did not treat this call will the seriousness it deserved.

That all said, let me restate my position - the operator did not commit a crime; she is paid to sift the wheat (real emergencies) from the chaff (prank calls). Some cities have the resources to send the police to every misdialed 911 call. Not all of them do, with Detroit included.

A 911 operator is more than just a warm body that picks up the phone and then dispatches the police to the location. If that were all they did, then I think that we should fire them all and put an automated system in place. It would be a lot cheaper and much more efficicient. If you call 911, then the cops automatically go to your location with this idea, no questions asked. Since we don't have that kind of system, the operators must serve some sort of function - could it be that they serve as a filter, and a necessary one at that.

As far as the idea that these are low paid city workers, that's just incorrect. In Cincinnati, the average salary is about $30k, and they're seriously talking about raising it because of the stress and hard hours. In Chicago, 911 operators can top out at about $55k a year. These are 2001 numbers.

Finally, as for my comment on the slit throat example, my point was that the particular wound described is fatal, regardless of 911 response. If your throat is slashed to the point that you cannot speak intelligbly, you're not going to recover if the cops get there in 5 minutes or 105 minutes. So yes, sit back in your easy chair and make your last minutes comfortable.
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Last edited by The_Jazz; 04-11-2006 at 05:07 AM..
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Old 04-11-2006, 05:15 AM   #46 (permalink)
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This stuff is just horrible. at the very least she should be fired. I would like to see someone sent out to every 911 call. I dont care if it costs a little time and money its worth it just to be sure everything is ok. Ignoring a 911 call should be a crime. accedental 911 calls that are not explained while still on the phone should be punished and fined. That way emergancy workers time is paid for for stupid stuff wasting time and if they are sent out to every 911 call then theres less chance of stuff like this happening in the end.
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Old 04-11-2006, 06:22 AM   #47 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anexkahn
its not as simple as always sending a full response, unless you want to double the resources out there (through increased taxes / user fees / special district funding soruces) prioritization, and resource management will continue to occur. now in this case, clearly some part of that system is failing and needs to be fixed -- but it isn't as simple as the "someone calls, you go" philosophy i'm seeing in alot of these posts.
It would seem to me that by collecting fines for incorrect 911 calls (even if it's a fax, even if it's a cell call, et cetera) that it would pay for itself in the long run. It would also, over time, put a stop to 911 prank calling. Sounds to me like a self-correcting problem if you respond to EVERY call. No fees, no additional taxes, just make false calls PAY for their call. In the northern Midwest, many states now have laws where, if you do something stupid (like go fishing on ice that was deemed unsafe) and fall in, you PAY for your own rescue. And if you were in a vehicle, you PAY for pollution of your vehicle into the water, even if they have to wait weeks for a warmer thaw to pull the vehicle... you have to pay WEEKS worth of pollution. Preventing stupidity and pranks/stunts by fining the people involved surely makes things a lot easier to cope with in the long run.
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Old 04-11-2006, 06:33 AM   #48 (permalink)
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$30 isn't GOOD money, EVEN for a government worker. A 2LT in the army makes that right from the signing line. According the the US Bureau of Labor at http://www.bls.gov/cew/state2002.txt in 2002 the average US income was $36,219, and unfortunately, average does not mean GOOD. $30k is enough to live on with a family, and not really have much else. I guess that's GOOD enough for some people, but...
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Old 04-11-2006, 07:55 AM   #49 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xepherys
$30 isn't GOOD money, EVEN for a government worker. A 2LT in the army makes that right from the signing line. According the the US Bureau of Labor at http://www.bls.gov/cew/state2002.txt in 2002 the average US income was $36,219, and unfortunately, average does not mean GOOD. $30k is enough to live on with a family, and not really have much else. I guess that's GOOD enough for some people, but...
So your opinion on the income of Cincinnati 911 workers (who are supposed to be getting a raise) has what to do with the topic? The Chicago number is well over the national average, and the Cincinnati number is more than meter readers make. There are also good benefits that go with any sort of municipal job.

I'll also remind you that a 2LT needs either a college education or 5 years of service (I think) before they can sign. A 911 operator needs neither. Someone working for me starts at $45k, but what does that have to do with anything? They're two completely different jobs, each with their drawbacks and requirements. I don't see how you can equate a 2LT and a 911 operator simply on salary.
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Old 04-12-2006, 03:49 AM   #50 (permalink)
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hmm, I can't believe the lady could have done such a thing... I was in Chicago for work once and tried to dial out to my businesses 1800 number, but you had to press 9 to dial out. The keys were really sticking and somehow I managed to dial 9911800... Which rang 911. I hung up before the call should have gone through because the keys were sticking on me, but didn't realize I had hit the 9 twice. 10 min later a cop walkes into my hotel room to see me and my girlfriend gettin it on (she just showed up to visit me while I was working and take a mini vacation for herself). She wasn't on the room reservations, so he thought she was a prostitute or something and gave us a really hard time.

On another note, I feel really sorry for that poor kid and his family, he did everything right, everything I would hope my son will do if I'm in an emergency situation...
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Old 04-12-2006, 04:20 AM   #51 (permalink)
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Here's another example of prank calls. It looks like a copycat of the previously reported family, but maybe not.

http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/art...-calls-CR.html
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Old 04-12-2006, 05:27 AM   #52 (permalink)
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At least the kid got through to someone. I tried calling 911 for a 92 yr old woman who had fallen and who I believed had broken a hip. I got a busy signal the first two times that I tried calling. If I had been calling for a prank I wouldn't have wasted my time calling again.

I know there are always exceptions and the operaters have to prioritize but this kid did not sound like some kid playing a prank. The operator assumed from the get go that it was a prank and threatened the child. She should have BEGUN her conversation with the boy properly. He DID say that his mother was passed out. How in the world did the operator think the mother was going to talk to her? This story pisses me off. As far as I can recall we pay a fee on our phone bills to keep the 911 service in our area. So in theory they should be providing proper coverage for each call. I'm sorry for those 911 operators that do their job correctly who will experience some prejudice possibly because of this one operator who screwed up so badly.
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Old 04-12-2006, 06:42 AM   #53 (permalink)
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raeanna74-

That's a mighty fine point... we do PAY for 911, both in some amount of tax dollars AND in a small fee from the telco. You'd think that civil servants, whether working for a private company, or a government agency, would always start a call as if it was legitimate. Again, like raeanna mentioned, it was a "prank" right off the bat as far as that operator was concerned. Also, if he "wasn't responsive enough", how would that make you think it was a prank? When I was a kid, I was the mastermind of a few prank calls (thought NEVER to 911). What is the prank in just sitting on the phone not answering? The PRANK is usually to say something funny (or offensive depending on the kids making the call).
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Old 04-12-2006, 09:34 AM   #54 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xepherys
The PRANK is usually to say something funny (or offensive depending on the kids making the call).
actually many prank calls to 9-1-1 aren't of the funny stuff and hang up variety... maybe prank isnt the best word, but usually its kids wanting to see what happens when they call, so they think up something fake to report, call in, then when you start questioning them for more info they realize that maybe this wasnt a good idea, stop answering your questions, get scared and then hang up. so yeah, usually the prank calls to 9-1-1 arn't your usual "refridgerator running" variety.


As to getting busy signals when calling 9-1-1... there are a limited number of trunks into each center based on population of the area the center serves. For instance, in our center there are 4 trunks. The service area is roughly divided into sectors based on physcal location. There is a limit as to how many calls can originate simultaneously from a single sector. This is so that if there is a major event in one geographic area the center lines dont get swamped and nobody else from another area in town can get in. We have alot of interface area here (homes placed on 2-4acre parcels in wooded areas) when we get good lightning storms that strike any of the mountains around the populated homes we get 100's of calls from every home owner out there. The system makes it so that no more than 2 of our 4 trunks will take calls from that sector so that anyone else calling from out there will get a busy signal until one of those 2 calls are dropped and then another one will ring in. this makes it so that if someone else needs an ambulance across town or something like that while this lightning strike is occuring they can still get in because not all 4 trunks are tied up with everyone calling about the fire.

So in your case, if you were calling about an incident that occured in a public place where it was likely a few other people were already calling in about it, that is why you would be getting a busy signal.
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Old 04-12-2006, 09:55 AM   #55 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anexkahn
snippy...So in your case, if you were calling about an incident that occured in a public place where it was likely a few other people were already calling in about it, that is why you would be getting a busy signal.
I was calling from the woman's home. I was responsible for checking up on her when her son left for Thanksgiving and I found her that morning with her leg jammed under a bookcase and her hip twisted at an odd angle. She was wailing and wouldn't let me touch her. I was the only one calling her. It was Thanksgiving morning (in LaCrosse, WI) so I don't know if that had anything to do with the number of calls being received.
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Old 04-12-2006, 10:11 AM   #56 (permalink)
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As a 911 operator for the last seven years, I can tell you that how the call was handled would be unacceptable where I work.

I get prank calls every night. While both common and very annoying, they all have one thing in common, they never involve someone asking me to send someone to their house. Why would a kid prank 911 and ask them to send help for his mom? Before anyone tries to argue, yes, I'm sure it has been done before, but that is no excuse.

The argument was raised that maybe they were busy and it took a while for a police squad to be free to take the call. While possible, in a large city like Detroit, rescue personnel are frequently sent to calls without police. In response to the call she received, the minimum that should have been done is to dispatch rescue personnel. Better to have rescue on scene with no emergency than to have no one on scene where someone needs help.

911 operators are not mindless government employees. They are trained to receive calls, evaluate the situation and prioritize based on the circumstances. A number of states have mandatory training and certification for 911 operators, some do not. My state is one that doesn't but it does not change the job or the responsibility that goes along with it.

Just a short personal story to go along with this: I received a 911 call from a four year old girl. She could only tell me her first name and that mommy fell. I asked her if I could talk to mommy. She said no. Was this a prank? All I had was a first name, a statement that mommy fell and no confirmation by an adult. I sent an officer and paged an ambulance. Turns out that mommy did indeed fall....down the basement stairs....while 8 months pregnant with her next child....and was unconscious. Had I chose to treat this as the Detroit dispatcher did, both this lady and her unborn child could have died. This is exactly why someone is sent to every 911 call.
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Old 04-12-2006, 12:27 PM   #57 (permalink)
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My 3, 6, and 9yr old children each know how to dial 911 and under what circumstances they're expected to do so. We haven't had any problems with them trying to dial prank calls because I believe we've helped them to understand the severity and importance of the 911 system. I'd never considered that I could lie on the floor having a heart attack (runs in the family) and NOT get help. My 3yr old is very verbose (didn't fall far from the tree, did he?!) but how would he respond in an actual emergency? I can definitely see him fidgeting, not knowing what to say, possibly even giggling in nervousness, and hanging up if he encounters resistance... Scary, scary thought. Honestly, I don't think the media has given us enough information on this case for me to decide what I think about this operator in particular. But I know how I FEEL! Someone had better believe my babies if they call in for me! :-)
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