Don’t blame the police, blame the 911 operators

By Sunny Day
Las Vegas Tribune
A Black man was trespassing in one of the downtown Las Vegas businesses, but the police never responded to the call because the telephone operator may not have relayed the call to the police officers in the field.
The next day an electrical pole in back of the same business was on fire and the Nevada Power transformer could have blown up and caused serious damages; the Nevada Power customers were inconvenienced with no power for four hours and there is the possibility that the same Black man who was trespassing the day before may have been the one who started the fire on the Nevada Power pole.
If the Emergency Operator for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department would have dispatched the call to the officers in the field maybe the fire could have been avoided and the police, the fire department and Nevada Power emergency team may not have needed to respond to that call.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported a case where a child’s life was in jeopardy because the 911 Emergency operator took it upon herself to
decide whether the call was real or not and if the caller meant to have the call reported or transferred to the officers in the field; the operator assumed that the call was “a child custody dispute” and disregarded the call.
A telephone operator by the name of Lujan transferred the call of a man in distress to the non-emergency number because he assumed that the call did not merit being answered by the Emergency Team, and the 311 telephone operator took two hours and twenty minutes to answer the call that could very easily end in tragedy with three cars in a downtown business parking lot that could have been able to execute a crime but thanks to a Good Samaritan with a big White truck who chased the cars off the private parking lot, their intentions were thwarted.
While their job is very stressful, these telephone operators are very dedicated and most people appreciate them, but they have to learn that they are not there to decide what is important, what is life-threatening, and what is not instead of treating callers as though some are less important or life-threatening than others.
It is a fact that in many cases while the operator is talking to the caller, she is transmitting the incident to the officer’s computer in the police car; but the person in stress, the person with a gun pointed at him or a knife ready to slash his (or her) neck doesn’t know that and the operator can de escalate the tension by explaining to the caller exactly what she is doing instead of not allowing the caller to speak and only answer what she is asking.
The 911 or 311 operators should remember what can happen when someone is in trouble or in a panic — a little consideration and respect can
go a long way.

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