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Local dispatchers shine at county’s nerve center

December 13, 2011

Post & Mail photo / Nicole Ott Dispatcher Matt Minier takes a call in the Columbia City Police Department dispatch.

Dispatcher: “911, what’s your emergency?”
Caller: “(Screams) My 3-year-old child just stopped breathing.”
Dispatcher one: “What is your location? ....can you feel a pulse?“
(Phone rings)
Dispatcher two: “911, what’s your emergency?”
Caller two: “I just saw a car flip across U.S. 30, there are people lying on the ground. They’re not moving.”
Dispatcher two: “What is your location? How many people...”
(Phone rings)
Dispatcher two: “911 what’s your emergency?”
Caller three: “My house. It’s burning down and my kids are trapped inside.”
Dispatcher two: “What is your location? What is on fire? How many children...
(Phone rings)
Dispatcher two: “911, what’s your emergency?”
Caller four: “Well. This isn’t really an emergency. I was just wondering what the number is for the highway department? I’m sick of hitting all these potholes on my road.”
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Local dispatchers are busy taking calls similar to the last example nearly every day — calls that aren’t true emergencies and which take away precious time needed for true problems.
So, when is it appropriate to call 911?
During the first snow Nov. 29, both the Columbia City Police and Whitley County Sheriff’s Departments took hundreds of 911 calls, many unnecessary.

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See the Dec. 13 edition of The Post and Mail for the full article.

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