Did Dispatcher Put Caller at Risk?

Did Dispatcher Put Caller at Risk?

There are 42 comments on the WHOtv story from Oct 27, 2010, titled Did Dispatcher Put Caller at Risk?. In it, WHOtv reports that:

Controversy surrounding the way a 9-1-1 dispatcher handled calls for help at the Boone Hy-Vee Supermarket this week.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at WHOtv.

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An Observer

West Des Moines, IA

#1 Oct 27, 2010
Sounds like some more dispatcher training is in order -- with periodic updates.
Chopswell

Ridgeway, IA

#2 Oct 27, 2010
Sounds like a transfer to the McDonald's Drive Up window is in store for this person. Frkn idiot!
missmufft

Coon Rapids, IA

#3 Oct 27, 2010
It cracks me up when the dispatcher says Dispatcher) "Ok. Alright. I'm...since you don't have visual on this guy is there any way you could get to him or be (pause) let me know so I can talk to my officers?" They should have been on their way or there by then. AND its not the employees job to check out where the guy is or set up the catch for the police officers. I am sure glad I don't live in that town. That was a brave employee who put his life out there for the officers and the dispatcher! Sham on department of Boon.
Just Wonderin

Des Moines, IA

#4 Oct 27, 2010
"They don't want to go into a scene where's there's danger",yet they expect a civilian to. Hope I'm never there and need to call 911
Steve

United States

#5 Oct 27, 2010
the request to get more intel was debatable - the information could have saved lives

the griping about the other calls coming in was inexcusable - did she not realize he had no control over this? all it did was distract from the emergency
Shocked Responder

Des Moines, IA

#6 Oct 27, 2010
This was simply an untrained individual or someone who doesn't like their job.

Either way, a correction needs to be made for the future.

Not to excuse the behavior of the dispatch person, but pulling information out of the caller was difficult as well. He didn't sound very concerned, but then that could have been just how he reacted or that he was in danger.

I've heard, however, that Gerald wasn't "ranting and raving", but walking through the aisles avoiding employees who confronted him pleading with him to put down the knife. Either way, it's over and lives have to move on.
Shocked Responder

Des Moines, IA

#7 Oct 28, 2010
Just Wonderin wrote:
"They don't want to go into a scene where's there's danger",yet they expect a civilian to. Hope I'm never there and need to call 911
I've watched several shows on how to be a "good" witness. I encourage everyone to learn that because people are people and no one is perfect no matter how trained they are.

The gentleman caller could have given a little more information like telling his location in the store. I think that people don't want to give too much. In those situations, give details...Help those who are going to try and save you, like the Police.
say hey

Gardner, KS

#8 Oct 28, 2010
Shocked Responder wrote:
<quoted text>
I've watched several shows on how to be a "good" witness. I encourage everyone to learn that because people are people and no one is perfect no matter how trained they are.
The gentleman caller could have given a little more information like telling his location in the store. I think that people don't want to give too much. In those situations, give details...Help those who are going to try and save you, like the Police.
You watched several shows and that makes you an expert....Well I stayed at a Holliday Inn Express.
Hy-Vee sucks

Ames, IA

#9 Oct 28, 2010
Hy-vee treats their employees like shit, so I would not at all be surprised if this had to do with something like that or a combination.
Hmmm

Douds, IA

#11 Oct 28, 2010
"Ma'am, lots of people are calling you because THERE IS A MAN WITH A KNIFE IN THE STORE. No, they don't know I'm on the phone with you. I'm in a safe place, and they are coming around the corner of an aisle and seeing A MAN WIELDING A KNIFE. No, ma'am, I can't see where he is at right now. Maybe if you talk to one of the other callers, they can tell you the exact location of THE MAN WITH THE KNIFE."

I understand that most days the Boone Police Department doesn't need more than 2 dispatchers on duty. However, don't they have a plan for back up in the communications center for like this event, or a tornado, or a bomb threat at Wal-Mart? Why wasn't this plan activated?
WAG

Spirit Lake, IA

#12 Oct 28, 2010
JUST AN AWFUL JOB BY THE 911 OPERATOR. I would have hung up on her and called back hoping for a different one.
Tim

Chanhassen, MN

#13 Oct 28, 2010
Always remember, even with 911, Police are only minutes away when seconds count.
Boone Citizen

Des Moines, IA

#14 Oct 28, 2010
say hey wrote:
<quoted text>
You watched several shows and that makes you an expert....Well I stayed at a Holliday Inn Express.
I fail to see any point to your comment other than rudeness.
Laura

Dayton, IA

#15 Oct 28, 2010
I agree that the dispatcher may not have made the best choices in this call. But we are also missing alot of the picture of what was going on inside the communication center at the time of the call. No excuse just facts of the situation. It is always easy to be critical when we are not the ones in the hot seat and we are looking at it in retro-spect.

I hope the dispatcher learns from this situation and if the profession is her calling that she continues to grow and learn as a dispatcher.
RANDO

Ankeny, IA

#16 Oct 28, 2010
Nice post laura,I liked that one
Jamie

Des Moines, IA

#17 Oct 28, 2010
If you check the Boone News Republican website - this isn't the first incident with dispatch. And the fact that in this article Sgt. Elsberry has to encourage people to call 911 supports the comments/claims made on the BNR website.

I find the handling of the dispatcher to be poor in that Sgt Elsberry has made contradicting comments in all of his interviews; From saying the dispatcher was spoken to about her mistakes in this interview to saying she did nothing wrong in the Des Moines Register but "was speaking her thoughts aloud."

So for those of us living in Boone - in the case of an emergency warranting a call to 911, we might get a poorly trained dispatcher with an attitude problem mumbling her grocery list because she talks to herself during emergency phone calls while she is giving us instructions to put ourselves in danger. All because Sgt Elsberry said she does her job well and won't be disciplined.
Boone CJ Major

Ogden, IA

#18 Oct 28, 2010
As a member of this community and someone who holds a bachelors degree in the field of criminal justice. I think in this mannerism yes, the dispatcher acted in correctly! However, in her defense, I will say when you are trying to take a call in a Emergency dispatch situation, and the other phones are ringing off the wall can be very distracting! She is one of our best dispatchers,compared to others! If you want to blame anyone, at this point blame the State and Federal government for cutting back grant money for training, equipment and more officers! As sad as it seems, law enforcement is all based on a budget,Boone County's grants and budget has to cover the City, the County, and the City of Madrid!
I think this dispatcher and all dispatchers in the Boone County need training! It is essence the most important thing that we as a community can do at this time! I also think, that once a dispatcher handles a crisis situation like the one we had on Monday they should have at least 24 hours paid leave! They are the first officers on the scene, and the eyes and ears of law enforcement officers and they go through the same withdrawl and what if's that officer on the scene faces! Crisis situations are not easy to handle. Yes, we need to train more on these situations more often so we are ready if situations like this arise! I have lived here all my life and i dont think we have ever had a situation like this in my time on earth in this capacity! I ask,you all to refrain from making comments, that she should work at Mc Donalds and ask you all to gto through a citizens academy and see what law enforcement and dispatchers jobs detail and then comment! Again, it is unfortunate that someone had to be shot and killed for the safety of the community of Boone and yes mistakes were made. However, yes, the dispatcher hopefully got a repremand and re-training, but if you are not a member of this greiving community keep your nose out of it! We have some great officers, and some great people working in protecting and serving this community!
Yessir

San Francisco, CA

#19 Oct 28, 2010
Sorry sir or madam, only one 911 call per knife wielding maniac.....
Yessir

San Francisco, CA

#20 Oct 28, 2010
Laura wrote:
I agree that the dispatcher may not have made the best choices in this call. But we are also missing alot of the picture of what was going on inside the communication center at the time of the call. No excuse just facts of the situation. It is always easy to be critical when we are not the ones in the hot seat and we are looking at it in retro-spect.
I hope the dispatcher learns from this situation and if the profession is her calling that she continues to grow and learn as a dispatcher.
Getting a "growing experience" during a "my cats in the tree" call is fine, but I think someone in this job needs an "A" game if they're going to do this for a living with peoples lives at stake.
none

West Des Moines, IA

#21 Oct 28, 2010
just so u all know...the state of iowa is one of only a couple of states that require dispatchers to go through training at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy. So to say that she needs more training, when she has gone through and passed, just like every other dispatcher in the state obviously isn't the problem. Hopefully she will learn from her mistakes...

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