911 – why you cannot rely on it…

In 2006 I observed an incident at a gas station where a large man was threatening a cashier. He was clearly drunk or on some sort of narcotic.  When he started making death threats to the cashier I decided to take action. I stepped to the back of the store and dialed 911, I reported the situation to the operator.

The operater’s response was “It’s New Haven, whad’ya expect us to do about it!” (in an extremely sarcastic voice).   After the incident the cashier finally got to the phone and New Haven send three cruisers of it’s finest to file a police report – the man long gone.

If that isn’t scary enough. Read this (and watch the videos).  The stupid 911 operator is more concerned about the fact that the store owner has a gun than the fact that the store owner is face to face with an aggressive criminal.  The 911 operator could easily have twice gotten this man killed because her biases and stupidity.

First with the criminal, where she repeatedly misses what the man is saying in order to focus on why he has a gun and is pointing it at someone’s head. If she had listened to what he said, she would have known that it was after hours, the address,  that the man was a hostile. She’s more concerned that he’s not responding when she can clearly hear that he’s dealing with an aggressive hostile.

Second, when she passes the information onto county, she says they’ve got a situation with a man with a gun, a store owner with a gun pointed at someone. The way she phrases and delivers the information potentially creates a situation where the police could think the situation is a shop owner with a hostage and mis-interpret the criminal to be the victim and the shop owner the threat.

Why do these things happen?  No one can give a full answer. I’ve been told budget is to blame in part. That operators have been outsourced and are not law-enforcement officers anymore.  They’re just Joe-Schmoe and Jane-Doe’s making a bit above minimum wage. They are no longer professionals, no longer law enforcement. They’re not much more than telemarketers.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IeVxeg4mgI (video)

– N.U.G.U.N.

PS – I think the shop owner made a few mistakes. Could have perhaps given the info a bit more ordered.  But under the stress of the situation I think he did about as well as he could with a moron on the other end.

That said, when the criminal stood up from the prone position and advanced. I believe the shop owner should have fired.   And apparently the police that arrived agreed that the shop owner would have been fully justified in doing so.

While on an individual level, it is better to merely chase the wolf off the pasture. From a society standpoint it’d be better if the wolf was brought down. Rest assured this guy will break into another store. And the next shop owner might not be so lucky.  Might not be armed. Might in fact already be dead.

Published in: on October 1, 2008 at 3:10 pm  Comments (1)  
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