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911 Dispatcher Discusses Handling Her First Emergency That Led To A Fatality
Life and death situations are a daily part of the job when you’re a 911 dispatcher, as seen on "911 Crisis Center."
At Chagrin Valley Dispatch in Ohio, dispatchers expect the volume of calls to increase on the Fourth of July.
“It’s gonna get pretty crazy around here,” said rookie dispatcher Savannah Brown, on a recent episode of “911 Crisis Center.”
Over the course of the shift, calls came in about grilling nuisances, pesky fireworks, a lost dog, and a mechanic who passed out while working on a woman’s car.
On a scarier note, multiple calls came in to report that a man was attacking people at a recovery center. “There’s no weapons, but he’s punching people,” a woman reported.
Dispatchers tried to learn if the suspect had any physical, medical, and mental conditions first responders needed to know about. They determined that he had a felony warrant with cautions for being armed and dangerous. Police need to know such details in order to stay safe.
The man was taken to county jail. Later, he was transferred to another county two hours away for an outstanding warrant.
Dispatchers also picked up a call reporting that a man who was in his car alone was blocking the drive-thru at a Burger King restaurant. It was unclear whether the driver had passed out.
As the dispatcher tried to get more information, the caller could be heard placing a fast-food order. “You’re on the phone with the police department. So stop ordering Burger King,” the dispatcher instructed.
Police found the man asleep in his car. He said that he woke up too early that morning and was able to move on.
Chagrin Valley dispatchers also handled a call concerning a perilous police pursuit of an intoxicated motorist who was driving with an adult woman and two children in the back seat.
“Pursuits are never easy, especially with children involved,” said dispatcher Ashley Welch.
In a terrible twist, the driver crashed and the woman was ejected from the car with multiple injuries. A call came into dispatchers from the woman’s stepmother, who told them that her stepdaughter had called her hysterical from the car.
“We’re going to have somebody give you a call back shortly,” dispatchers told the caller.
After getting the go-ahead from an officer, Brown contacted the stepmom.
“We were trying to find somebody to come pick up the children at the hospital,” Brown said.
Tragically, the woman thrown from the car died from her injuries.
“I was mad at the whole entire situation. His actions killed his children's mother,” said Brown.
The man was charged with multiple crimes including involuntary manslaughter and aggravated homicide. The children were treated at an area hospital and discharged.
Dispatching is a job that is always about life and death. The call would be Brown’s first experience with a fatality, and her colleagues rallied around her. It was a difficult experience but part of the job.
“That call showed me that I’m where I need to be,” said Brown.