What should have been a fun day at the community pool turned into an unimaginable family tragedy. A 7-year-old girl was pulled from the bottom of a public pool in Missouri, but some say her death could have been prevented if it weren't for an inept 911 operator.
Reportedly, the 911 dispatcher handling the call about little Kaitlynn Breann Garcia bungled up quite badly. He did not know where the pool was located and wasted four minutes dialing wrong numbers for the emergency response team. The dispatcher was heard saying, "Yes. Is this Jay? Yea, I'm sorry. I've got the wrong number." Unbelievable.
The witness who made the frenzied call was horrified as the minutes slipped by and little Kaitlynn's life slipped away. As her pleas grew more frantic, the dispatcher replied, "I, I, I'm trying to get a hold of an ambulance as best -- trying to do the best, trying to do the best I can." Totally unacceptable. This person clearly should not have been allowed to man the phones if he was incapable of getting callers the help they need.
Though sadly, this is just the latest example of seemingly incompetent 911 operators. Earlier this month, there were reports that a dispatcher in Dallas, Texas was fired for making racist remarks on her Facebook page. She called black people "animals" and said they had "sh** for brains." She also ranted that they wasted her time calling 911. And just think, this is the attitude of the person you call when you are in desperate need of police or medical help.
Then there was the operator who took the call from kidnap victim Amanda Berry. This poor girl had been beaten, raped, and chained up in a house for 10 years and this guy allegedly cursed under his breath at her. He didn't even stay on the line with her as she waited for the cops to come to secure her safety from the monster who had tortured and imprisoned her.
It's shameful and frightening. More so than most other public service jobs, 911 dispatchers needs to be patient and compassionate. People don't call them when they are calm and rational. They are hearing people at their most horrified and desperate moments. Is it too much to ask that they be sympathetic and actually know how to get someone the help that they need? If they can't do the job, then they should be fired.
What do you think of these three 911 operators?
Image via Kevin Krecji/Flickr