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Wild things happen all the time at emergency dispatch centers, as seen on “911 Crisis Center,” airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen.
During a recent episode, a store employee sounded scared to death when she reached out to Chagrin Valley Dispatch. She reported that a masked stranger robbed her at gunpoint, forced her onto the ground, and told her to stay there for five minutes.
First responders quickly arrived at the scene.
“Thank God nothing else happened to this caller,” said a concerned dispatcher. “It could have been very bad, but she wasn't hurt.”
But in an unexpected turn of events, authorities later charged the caller and an accomplice with aggravated theft for allegedly staging the robbery.
Surprise twists are common at the Ohio communications center. The next call could involve a paper cut, childbirth, CPR, a gun. With 15 years of dispatching experience, Arnold Rinas knows that all too well — and how to roll with it. He takes great satisfaction in “making an impact” and working with trainees.
“Dispatching is harder than it looks,” he said. “You need to know how to be able to talk to police officers, paramedics, and firefighters.”
“Out of a group of 10 people, on average about one person actually makes it to becoming a dispatcher,” said Rinas. He added that his latest trainee, Salena Hall, who helped handle an intricate call concerning a car theft, showed promise.
Another dispatcher picked up a call from a distraught woman who reported that a car backed into her husband and was against another vehicle.
“He is in pain. I need you here now,” the caller cried.
Paramedics were sent to the scene while the dispatcher monitored the situation. The caller said the man wasn’t bleeding but was going in and out of consciousness. Medical help arrived and transported the man to the hospital. He was expected to make a full recovery.
Rinas also picked up a call from a woman outside her house. “My neighbor is pointing his gun at me,” she told him.
Police were sent to the address immediately, and Rinas urged the woman and her family members to go inside her house and lock the door.
“The possibility of that gun firing makes this a much more intense situation,” he said.
Officers arrived, and the neighbor was arrested and charged with assault after allegedly throwing dog feces at her. He pleaded not guilty.
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