Calm Under Pressure?- Fine, Completely Uncaring?- No Bueno

I understand many major municipalities police dispatch units are woefully understaffed.

I understand that dispatchers have a “script” they must follow, to get the pertinent information.

I even understand that dispatchers receiving crank calls by the dozens on the daily, can easily grow jaded over years of hysterical phone calls coming in.

Still, I have to say the seemingly complete apathetic attitude of the Cleveland 911 dispatcher regarding Amanda Berry’s frantic  phone disturbs me.

If you have not heard it, give a listen…

Amanda Berry 9-1-1 Call – Missing Since 2003, Found Alive 5.6.2013

Okay, on the reality side, I am not expecting any dispatcher to go all out ala Halle Berry’s character in “The Call”, so let’s not go there.  However,  a panicked crying woman tells she’s been missing for ten years,  just became free of her abductors and needs help deserves more of a response than “We’re going to send them as soon as we get a car open.” and “Talk to them when they get there.”.

“…as soon as we get an open car”????  If Amanda Berry had not practically begged dispatch into sending a car immediately it makes one wonder just how long she could have potentially waited for assistance.  Dispatch could have, and should have, placed her on hold as a car was sent out and then stayed on the line and talked to the girl, now a woman, until the police arrived.  It was so clear Amanda desperately wanted to keep a connection to the dispatch until her rescue. Amanda desperately needed that connection, yet dispatch simply did the minimum, and dumped the call.

The way dispatch dismissed Amanda with “I told you they’re on their way; talk to them when they get there, OK.”  sounded like an irritated parent, fussing at the child who keeps interrupting in the midst of watching a favorite show.  You can all but see the dispatcher’s rolling of the eyes in annoyance. Can you imagine Berry’s confusion, frustration and fear at that moment as she was politely, but firmly being forced to hang up?

“…Check out the kidnapping in District 2…”

Even as we listen to the dispatcher transfer the information to have it processed, the complete sense of  “whatevs”  in the handling is near appalling.

To be on the fair side, Dispatcher Perdy (sp?), the dispatcher who took the fateful call, did her job. She took the call, got the pertinent information and transferred it to the appropriate party. That is all she is required to do. Yet, I pray no loved one of hers, if having a desperate emergency, gets processed in the same indifferent manner in which she handled Amanda Berry.

My God, all the things that could have gone so horribly wrong because of this dispatcher’s nonchalance. Thankfully this story has a happy ending, and bless you Charles Ramsey!  Oh but, would I have loved to have seen the dispatcher’s face when the truth of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight came to light.

2 thoughts on “Calm Under Pressure?- Fine, Completely Uncaring?- No Bueno

  1. I too was shocked at the dispatchers nonchalance. The one ofn Charles Ramsey’s call told him, “Look, we can’t both talk at once,” in a bored irritated tone. That’s appalling. Someone is telling you about a kidnapping, giving you all the information they have and you’re basically telling them to be quiet so you can talk. Amazing. But thank God for orchestrating the break-out/rescue.

  2. Well said, Raivenne. Eventually–just wait and watch–the dispatcher will be hailed a “hero” for simply being the one who took the call. Hero has replaced “Tuscan” as America’s most over-used word.

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