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Why You Should Never File A False Report: ‘911 Crisis Center’ Shares Penalty For Faking Emergency
Emergency dispatchers deal with every kind of crisis — including fake ones. Here's what they have to say about swatting.
Appreciation Week was in full swing at Chagrin Valley Dispatch, an Ohio dispatch center, in a recent episode of “911 Crisis Center,” airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen.
As the annual event rolls on, the crew enjoys some fun and games, including Dispatcher Bingo. (In this version, for example, one square to mark off is “Ma’am. Ma’am. Ma’am.” That’s something repeatedly heard in the office.)
But the emergency calls, of course, keep coming. Dispatcher Jennifer Barber took one from an anguished woman whose grandmother “passed out” and wasn’t breathing. Barber guided the woman through performing CPR while paramedics raced to the scene.
“They're gonna be there in just a minute,” she reassured the caller.
Help arrived and transported the victim to the hospital. Thanks to the CPR, she survived. Barber receives a special pin celebrating her life-saving efforts.
“I was really proud of myself,” she said. “It feels great to be appreciated."
Later in the shift a dispatcher took a call from a woman who continued to holler into the phone. “Ma’am, ma’am, ma’am. Stop yelling,” the dispatcher urged so that she could help her.
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It turned out that she and a man were having an argument. When officers arrived on the scene they confirmed that the altercation didn’t turn physical.
Another caller reported a break-in by a stranger. Dispatchers confirmed that the caller, who was in her car, actually saw the stranger in her house.
The intruder fled on foot, but was eventually apprehended by officers. The suspect was confirmed to be 15 years old. He was transported to juvenile detention.
In a different incident, multiple callers reported seeing a child who was outside and unaccompanied. “He’s running in the street,” one caller said.
Another caller reported that she saw the child and placed him in her car. Dispatchers determined that the boy was wearing a black T-shirt with green patches.
Then another call came in: “I have a 3-year-old missing from my apartment. I’m his grandmother.”
The woman said the boy was wearing a black shirt with green on it. The child was safely reunited with his caretaker after the mystery was solved.
But in a different kind of call, someone asked for help, saying she heard gunshots and saw a man speeding off in a silver Kia. She added that a woman was “severely bleeding.”
As the dispatcher tried to get more information, the caller hung up. Officers who arrived at the address told dispatchers there was no one there. Another call came in reporting the same sort of incident.
Dispatchers had a hunch that the calls were false reports — which are called “swatting.” By working with police, they confirmed their suspicion.
“This gentleman believes his ex-girlfriend is calling. She's been known to do this and it sounds like she's using an app,” an officer said.
This swatting caller was not investigated further, according to “911 Crisis Center.” But if an injury or death occurs during a false report those involved can be held responsible and face felony charges.
To learn more about emergency dispatchers, watch “911 Crisis Center,” airing Saturdays at 9/8c on Oxygen or stream episodes here.
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