Decades earlier the only person allowed to answer emergency phone calls at a police agency was a trained cop. The cities learned they could save a lot of money by hiring civilians to do that job. It was not a good move because the operators had little training and were never up to the task. Frankly too many of these people lack enough basic intelligence to do the job.
Here is how it all works these days. You call 911 and an operator answers the call. The operator then types in basic address information for the dispatcher and the officer’s digital mobile terminal (car computer). The operator tells the dispatcher what’s going on. The dispatcher then tells the officers in the field the information from the operator. The officers only get third hand information to do their job.
The 911 operators are trained to give the simplest of first aid instructions but the juiciest part of the job is drawing out the excited utterances of the callers as well as full confessions. Miranda and the Fifth Amendment don’t apply in this area.
They record every call and those recordings are often a large part of the evidence used to put someone in prison. The 911 operators are rewarded for quickly asking those 20 incriminating questions. Unfortunately the intrigue of this part of the job changes the focus from helping people to encouraging them thoughtlessly babble their way to jail during some crisis.
This 911 call came from young a Phoenix Arizona woman who was living with a local violent felon. The goon made a habit of beating her and threatening her and her children with his Chinese SKS rifle and several handguns he illegally possessed.
A Phoenix homicide detective was investigating the thug for a murder. This frightened woman wanted to tell the detective what she knew but was legitimately afraid to do so.
This night the thug was high on methamphetamine, violent while waving his rifle at this woman and her two children. It ended when the rifle wielding drunken felon was shot in the chest. The woman called 911 asking for that homicide detective and help.
Before it was over the victim lost her job, apartment, car, clothing, all belongings and children while sitting in jail for a year waiting for her murder trial. She was acquitted and set free with only the dirty clothes she was arrested wearing a year earlier.
Sit back and relax as you listen to her call to 911 and ask yourself if making that call was a good idea…