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'He’s Not In His Right Mind’: How 911 Dispatchers Handle Dangerous Domestic Calls

Emergency dispatchers handle calls concerning a suicidal man, an ex-girlfriend with a gun, and a woman going door-to-door for beer.

Dispatchers featured in 911 Crisis Center

Calls concerning domestic situations that can quickly escalate come in all the time to Chagrin Valley Dispatch, an emergency communications center in Ohio.

On a recent episode of “911 Crisis Center,” airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen, a woman phoned to report that her husband was belligerent and threw water in her face.

“I don’t know if he’s been drinking, but he did crystal meth yesterday,” the woman said. “He has a lot of mental health issues.” 

She added that her husband was threatening to kill himself. The man, the caller said, had been sober for a year and had just relapsed: “He’s not in his right mind.” 

Dispatchers determined that the man had been previously arrested for a domestic incident. They instructed the woman to separate herself from her husband by going outside and waiting for officers to arrive.

The caller was not physically harmed, and the man was transported to the hospital for evaluation.

Rookie dispatcher Savannah Brown answered a call from a man who reported that he pulled into his driveway and was confronted by his ex-girlfriend who was pointing a gun at him.

A dangerous situation for everyone involved including the caller, the woman with the gun, and police officers, dispatchers gathered as much information as quickly as they could.

The ex-girlfriend didn’t have a carry permit for a firearm or any protection orders. The caller’s ex was arrested. She was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and aggravated menacing. 

Dispatcher Matt Reinke answered a call from a frantic woman who reported that her mother “just passed out.” 

Reinke confirmed with the caller that her mom was breathing. He helped the woman keep calm and had her turn her mother onto her side to make it easier to monitor her breathing. 

“I know it’s scary,” Reinke told the caller. Paramedics arrived and the mother was transported to the hospital. She was expected to make a full recovery.

Brown handled a call concerning a 19-year-old female at home hiding in a crawlspace. She reported that someone was breaking into the house through the garage.

Officers were dispatched to the scene immediately.

“Take a deep breath. We have some officers on the way,” said Brown, who is married to a police officer. Like her Chagrin Valley colleagues, keeping officers safe is always a top priority.

When officers arrived it appeared that someone was on the main floor. Brown got an OK from the caller for officers to make a forced entry into the home. Once inside, police found no one there — and no signs of a break-in. 

If someone was in the house and slipped out before officers entered, it was unknown.

RELATED: 911 Dispatcher Gives Her Advice For People To Avoid Emergencies: 'Be Aware'

Dispatchers also answered a call from a homeowner who said a stranger came to his door, entered his home, and offered him $1 for a beer. They learned that it’s not the first time the woman has done this.

Officers were unable to locate the woman.

To find out more about what dispatchers do, watch “911 Crisis Center,” airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen or stream episodes here.

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