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How To Deal With A Carjacking: ‘911 Crisis Center’ Dispatchers Handle Back-To-Back Armed Incidents

Carjackings, a possible drug overdose, a family dispute, and a trapped hamster keep 911 dispatchers on their toes.

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At Chagrin Valley Dispatch, a Cleveland-area emergency dispatch center, the cool-headed staff is ready for anything. That’s clear from “911 Crisis Center,” a show about the workers there, airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen.

In a recent shift, staff juggled emergencies involving an escalating family disturbance and a hamster stuck under the caller’s stove. Dispatcher Jackie Chappuies and training rookie Hayley Kilbane and other staff, meanwhile, found themselves facing calls about back-to-back carjackings at the same local gas station.

In the first incident, a caller reported that his 2001 Saturn was taken at gunpoint. “He pulled out a pistol ... and got my car,” the distraught caller said. 

Later in the shift, multiple calls came in reporting a second incident at the same location. “A lady just got shot,” the frantic witness said. “Somebody took her truck.” 

As more information was obtained on the make of the vehicle, dispatchers learned that the victim had been shot in the hip area and was en route to a hospital.

Officers reported to Chagrin Valley Dispatch that the suspect was a 16-year-old male wearing all black armed with a black handgun. After the assailant entered the woman’s vehicle, she had started screaming and he ran. 

“This is the second carjacking attempt at the same gas station,” said a dispatcher. “They believe it’s the same person. They’ve got a similar suspect description.”

To aid in the search for the assailant, Chagrin Valley Dispatch reached out to a patrolman and his K-9 unit. 

While the dog had a fairly good track going on the suspect, it lost it. But the canine did eventually lead police to where the firearm and the keys to the vehicle had been tossed.

As dispatchers cheered on the K-9 unit, Kilbane picked up a call from a man desperately demanding an ambulance for his 29-year-old girlfriend. 

“I don’t know what’s wrong with her,” he said. “I just woke up. She’s drooling from the mouth. She can’t breathe …” 

Kilbane tried to determine if the woman was having a seizure or a possible drug reaction. “I think she’s overdosing off of something,” the caller said. “I don’t know what it is.”

Kilbane, with Chappuies by her side, instructed the man to get his girlfriend flat on her back on the floor. “We’re going to start CPR,” she told him as her trainer stood by. “Place the heel of your palm on her chest in between her nipples. Then put your other hand on top of the first hand.” 

She assured the caller that help was on the way. “We’re going to do CPR until they get there,” she said. “You’re going to press down hard and fast for two inches. I’m going to count with you. OK, like you're pumping your chest.”

She continued to assist the call until paramedics reached the scene. The victim was breathing while being transported to the local hospital. The CPR was successful.

“Jumping into CPR for the first time I was scared as heck,” Kilbane told producers. “It's just an intense feeling then, there's no other way for me to describe it.” 

To see how Kilbane’s colleagues rewarded her efforts and to learn more about Chagrin Valley Dispatch, watch “911 Crisis Center,” airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen

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