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Every day brings challenges for the crew at Chagrin Valley Dispatch, an emergency communications center in Ohio.
The stakes get raised even higher on Mother’s Day, as seen on a recent episode of “911 Crisis Center,” airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen.
Early in the shift, dispatchers face a family emergency when a 7-year-old boy disappears from his living room.
“We haven't been able to find him for like 20 minutes,” said the caller. Dispatchers advised the woman that officers were on the way. Keeping the caller calm was a priority in order to obtain the necessary information for a positive outcome.
“The first thing that goes through my mind is that your child could be kidnapped, could be sick, could be injured,” a dispatcher told producers. “Anything could be happening right now. So time is of the essence.”
The missing child’s mother then called 911 again to report that she’d found her son. It is believed the child let himself out the front door and followed other children to a park across the street.
Dispatcher Essence Sullins later answered a call from a woman whose 1-year-old son appeared to have passed out. EMS personnel were immediately dispatched as Sullins prepared to guide the mom through CPR.
The caller then said that splashing cold water on the baby’s face revived him. Paramedics checked the baby and determined he was, in fact, OK.
Traffic accidents are common occurrences. Dispatchers received multiple calls concerning a car with a driver and a passenger that had “flipped over.” There were reports that a white truck left the scene.
Police and paramedics raced over, while dispatchers helped prevent more mishaps. “During this call there’s obviously a lot of moving pieces,” a dispatcher said, “so we need to shut down the freeway to avoid even more accidents.”
The driver and a passenger — a daughter and her mother — were taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Police were still searching for the owner of the white truck witnesses reported was involved.
Another serious emergency unfolded when multiple panicky calls came into Chagrin Valley reporting that a woman had been shot.
With “a call like this we don’t know if this person is gonna go down the street and shoot somebody else,” said dispatcher Ashley Welch. “So we have to get them off the street as quick as we can.”
Dispatchers determined that the suspected shooter had fled the scene in a burgundy car. They later found that the suspect was the victim’s 39-year-old son.
Police apprehended the suspect at a gas station and recovered a firearm from his vehicle. He was taken into custody.
The victim died from her wound.
“He killed his mother on Mother's Day,” a dispatcher said in despair. Part of the job of a dispatcher is dealing with these kinds of outcomes, but they lean on each other for emotional support.
The suspect was charged with aggravated murder of his mother. He was initially deemed not competent to stand trial. He was undergoing treatment so that he can stand trial at a later date.
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