911 dispatcher hangs up on distressed caller, appears to still have job

Will Lerner
Odd NewsJanuary 17, 2014

KLAS 8 News Now is reporting on an incident in which a 911 dispatcher disconnected a phone call from a man who had was understandably hysterical after discovering his mother was dead.

View photos

The man, who was returning home from work after 12-hour shift, was shocked and dismayed when he saw that his mother was not breathing. He called 911. A police dispatcher immediately patched the phone call to a fire department dispatcher, as is protocol. However, while on the phone with fire department dispatcher, things got ugly. The dispatcher asked the caller to calm down so she could take down his address. The caller, again, understandably hysterical, couldn’t focus. The dispatcher told the caller not to “holler,” because she “didn’t do it.” That did not dissuade the man’s angst, and he let some obscenities fly, after which the fire department dispatcher hung up on him.

View photos

Now, the man’s call didn’t abruptly end. The initial person who took the call, the metro police dispatcher, was still on the line and kept talking to the caller.

View photos

KLAS brought the story’s attention to Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Chief Willie McDonald. McDonald wasn’t happy about what happened, telling the station, “We took what you gave us very seriously, because it’s not ok. It’s not consistent with the level of service that we want to provide.” While Chief McDonald could not guarantee that this would never happen again, he did tell KLAS that “corrective action” was taken, but did not specify what that exactly meant.

View photos

McDonald did point out that this was one call of over half a million handled by his department over a year and that a “vast majority are handled without incident.” KLAS didn’t mention how the phone call in question was resolved.

Meanwhile, in happier news, KTUU NBC 2 News is reporting on the good job a 911 dispatcher did. That dispatcher, Amber Holt, is being praised for helping a Wasilla, Alaska couple through a delivery of their infant.

She gave the pregnant woman and her husband directions, keeping them calm as paramedics were on their way. Mother and child are happy and healthy.

More info: KLAS, KTUU