Thursday, August 28, 2008

time out

I'll be back Tuesday.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Serial bank robber called 911 to surrender,
while house was surrounded by police

In 2006, Indianapolis police made an arrest following a bank robbery in which the robber left behind his birth certificate, and the crime was captured on surveillance video. Rodney Harper dropped a check cashing card as well as a bill from a phone showing he paid his phone bill," said Marion County sheriff's Capt. Phil Burton. The videotape shows the identification falling out onto the floor when the man pulls out his gun.

Police said Harper got away with an undisclosed amount of cash, but it was recovered, covered in dye, not far from the bank. Harper called 911 on Tuesday as police surrounded his home.

"I'm wanting to turn myself in. The police are outside the house right now. I just wanted to let them know I don't have any weapons. I just want to come out," Harper told a 911 dispatcher.

Burton admitted that the robber's missteps made investigators' job a bit easier. "When they actually rob a bank with their ID, which they leave for us, that's very helpful," Burton said. Harper was already on parole after a 1995 bank robbery. (info from

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Not a wacko: woman called 911 with bullet in her head

Heather Brammer of Manning, South Carolina is in the hospital with a gunshot wound to the base of her skull. Police Chief Randy Garrett said she's lucky to be alive. She was shot while working at a tuxedo rental store on Friday.

A man came into the store around 10am saying he wanted to rent a tuxedo. She showed him the selection and even took a deposit, and he came back an hour and a half later and robbed her.

Investigators say the man took cash from the register, fired a shot that hit a clothing rack and then made Heather go to the back where he shot her execution style.

Dispatcher: Is he out of the building now?
Heather: Yes, he's gone. He shot me in the back of the head.
Dispatcher: You're shot in the back of the head?
Heather: It feels like my neck or my head. My head's killing me.
Dispatcher: She was shot in the neck.
Heather: I can't see right.

The chief believes it was the robber's intention to kill Heather and that when he left, he thought she was dead. But Heather held on talking to the dispatcher for two minutes waiting for paramedics.

Dispatcher: Do you hear them?
Heather: No!
Dispatcher: Do you hear them? I hear them -- they're coming -- EMS is gonna be walking in the door in just a sec, OK?
Heather: OK!

Heather is in the hospital. She is improving, but not out of the woods. Police do not believe it was the robber's first crime and worry it will not be his last. Heather also told 911 that the man who shot her took off in a green Mitsubishi Galant. As of Monday, he was still on the run. (info from WIS TV)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Woman died after 911 dispatcher sent ambulance to wrong address

A Bucks County, Pennsylvania 911 operator was suspended after dispatching emergency crews to the wrong address. After the error Lynn Trusdell, 70, died in her home of an apparent heart attack. Medical personnel should have been sent to Trusdell's Lower York Road home but the suspended dispatcher incorrectly entered another street in her computer, leading the ambulance on a fruitless search for several minutes, according to Bucks County's director of emergency services.

In the meantime, police unsuccessfully used a defibrillator until paramedics received the correct address. The ambulance arrived 24 minutes after the original 911 call.

"All of our dispatchers try their best," said John Dougherty, Bucks County emergency services director. "They are human beings. I know it's difficult to say this to the poor soul involved in this, but when you have a human element involved in anything, you have the possibility of an error."

In January, Bucks County's dispatchers were re-trained after a Doylestown woman burned to death inside her home. County officials said mandatory re-training would be required due to the latest incident. Friends said it is difficult not knowing whether the delay cost Trusdell her life. "Accidents happen, mistakes happen," said a woman who knew Trusdell. "I don't know. Hopefully they can figure out something so it can be more direct when someone gives an address." (info from EMS responder)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Man lied to 911 about baby in stolen car

A man who called 911 in Dallas Texas to report his car was stolen with his infant child inside is facing criminal charges for the call.

Police from Dallas and other cities spent several hours on Wednesday looking for Erick Zapeta's car and his child. But investigators said Zapeta loaned the car to someone he knew and then lied to police about the theft and child in order to get his car back.

Officers located the vehicle and the child, who police said was safe at home and had not been in the car. Zapeta faces a charge of false report to a police officer, a Class B misdemeanor. (info from NBC5)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Man reported robbery to 911 when he was denied refund for condoms

A man in Englewood, New Jersey called 911 to report a robbery after a gas station employee refused to give him his money back for an unopened box of condoms on Sunday.

Officers arrived quickly and found that the description of the alleged robber fit an employee at the gas station given by the caller.

Police said the caller, Kadien Jackson of Blauvelt, New York, told them he called 911 and made the bogus report to help him get his money back. He called again moments later with a description of the robber. Jackson was charged with making a false report, a crime that carries prison time upon conviction. (info from

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Armed 85-year-old woman makes robber call 911

An 85-year-old woman in Point Marion, Pennsylvania got her gun and aimed it at a would-be burglar inside her home, then forced him to call 911. "I just walked right on past him to the bedroom and got my gun," Leda Smith said.

Smith heard someone break into her home Sunday afternoon and grabbed the .22-caliber revolver she had been keeping by her bed since a neighbor's home was burglarized a few weeks ago. "I said 'What are you doing in my house?' He just kept saying he didn't do it," Smith said.

After the 17-year-old boy called 911, Smith kept holding the gun on him until state police arrived at her home in Springhill Township, about 45 miles south of Pittsburgh. The boy will be charged with attempted burglary and related offenses in juvenile court. He was not identified because of his age.

"It was exciting," Smith said. "I just hope I broke up the (burglary) ring because they have been hitting a lot of places around here." (info from The Associated Press)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

911 dispatcher fired for caller's death wants her job back, has 12-year record of screw-ups

A Georgia 911 dispatcher accused of a series of mistakes that misdirected emergency crews and delayed an ambulance 45 minutes to a dying woman has appealed her firing. Atlanta lawyer Rory Starkey confirmed he had filed an appeal of the termination of Gina Conteh.

Conteh was fired Aug. 6 for her actions four days earlier. The 12-year veteran 911 operator took a call from Darlene Dukes who was gasping for breath from a blood clot in her lung. Conteh mistakenly sent help to southwest Atlanta when Dukes had called from Johns Creek in north Fulton.

The first help for Dukes, fire and police didn’t arrive for more than 30 minutes. Conteh failed to send an ambulance when she dispatched fire and police. So, Rural Metro Ambulance service didn’t arrive until an hour after Duke’s call came in.

Conteh is entitled to appeal any action taken against her. That group can overturn or amend any action and they often shorten suspensions or reduce proposed firings to time off without pay. That has often frustrated department heads, political officials and others who routinely complain that it’s too difficult to rid of problem employees.

It’s a process Conteh is familiar with. She’s been repeatedly cited for mistakes in routing emergency crews, fights with co-workers, chronic tardiness and problems staying awake to handle emergency calls.

Her personnel record covers 2,100 pages. She’s been suspended repeatedly and filed a series of grievances against others. At least twice in the past four years, Conteh’s supervisors pushed to fire her. One of those attempts was because Conteh repeatedly fell asleep when she should have been answering emergency calls. The other was for failure to respond to test calls from a supervisor. Both times she avoided termination.

Four years ago, Conteh’s supervisors were threatening to pull her off dispatching ambulances. A shows supervisor Latisha Lester felt Conteh “was not grasping the radio” after nearly eight years on the job. Lester went on to say Conteh “appears to be having a retention problem as well as multi-tasking issues, especially when calls are coming back to back.” She reported that Conteh “loses focus and that leaves her radio in total chaos.”

Conteh was still dispatching on Aug. 2 when Dukes called in gasping for breath from a blood clot in her lung. Conteh handled multiple calls while she was misdirecting help that might have saved Dukes life. Twenty five minutes elapsed before she realized the error and sent police and fire units to Dukes’ apartment. Even then, Conteh delayed another 20 minutes before dispatching an ambulance. Dukes, a mother of two, was proclaimed dead an hour later.

Since then, Fulton officials have fired Conteh and reassigned longtime 911 Director “Rocky” Moore. They have also pledged to rush through both an internal and external audit of the 911 center to assure Fulton’s nearly 1 million residents that help will come when you dial 911. (info from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Drunken boy jailed for four prank 911 calls

Police in Gastonia, North Carolina arrested a 19-year-old boy for making four 911 prank calls in one day. Robbie Maney faces charges of misuse of the 911 system, obstructing justice and resisting an officer.

According to arrest warrants and an affidavit, Maney called a 911 dispatcher while drunk four times Saturday. Two of the calls were hangups, the third call reported a shooting and the fourth was a call about a husband beating up his wife.

"I observed the defendant walking in the area of 115 Essex," wrote Officer M.B. Watts in the affidavit. "When I approached him he was trying to delete the 911 calls from his phone. Patrolman Peterson and myself attempted to arrest him for 911 violation and he fought officers resulting in the defendant getting Tased."

Maney also had an order for arrest by failing to appear for a worthless check charge. Maney was jailed under a $5,500 secured bond. (info from the Gaston Gazette)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Transcript of real 911 call

Dispatcher: 911, What's the nature of your emergency?
Caller: My wife is pregnant and her contractions are only two minutes apart
Dispatcher: Is this her first child?
Caller: No, you idiot! This is her husband!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Person seeking aid for fatally injured cyclist called 911 and was told to call another number

The director of emergency services in Prescott-Russell (part of Ontario, Canada) says he is asking for a review into why a 911 caller was asked to hang up and try another emergency number following a fatal crash between a truck and a cyclist last week.

Michel Chr├ętien said he is asking the Ontario Ministry of Health to examine why Quebec 911 dispatchers told Antonio Hanna to call the Ontario Provincial Police at Star 677 instead of immediately redirecting his call to the provincial force.

The *677 number didn't work and it wasn't until a driver used the OnStar button in his vehicle that help was dispatched to the crash Monday that killed April Nauta and injured her riding companion, Pedro Villanueva.

Nauta sustained severe head trauma and died last Tuesday after being taken to a hospital. Villanueva sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was released from the hospital.

911 calls in Prescott-Russell are directed to a call center in North Bay. Those calls are then transferred to the appropriate local emergency service once the dispatcher determines where the caller is calling from. It is not clear if Keith's call was transferred to the call center in North Bay or another 911 dispatch center.

However, Chr├ętien said his department "most definitely" wants answers as to why protocol wasn't followed when Hanna's cellphone call was routed to the Quebec 911 dispatchers. (info from The Ottawa Citizen)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thousands in California improperly billed for 911

The introduction of Ventura, California's controversial monthly fee for 911 service proved too quick for some telephone providers, leading to thousands being erroneously billed. They will receive refunds, say city officials, who maintain they have little control over the phone companies.

Meanwhile, police say installation of a new computer-aided dispatch system will delay until at least October their ability to distinguish and charge for 911 calls by those who elected to opt out of the monthly fee and instead pay $17.88 per 911 call.

Many residents were critical of the council's split decision in February to become the first city in Southern California to approve a fee for 911 calls. Now, they are displeased the fee is being collected before the phone companies or the city are ready to properly administer it. The fee appeared for the first time on July bills.

"A lot of people are very unhappy," said city Treasury Manager Kaye Mirabelli, who received several voice mails from residents venting complaints. "I empathize with them. We are doing the best we can. We'll get there. It's just messy in the beginning." Those erroneously charged will be credited by the end of September, Mirabelli said the phone companies have told her.

More than 27,000 phone numbers — about a sixth of the estimated cell and land lines subject to the 911 fee — are registered for the per-call option. The rest automatically are charged $1.49 a month on phone bills, listed under local government fees and taxes.

City leaders said the fee — projected to generate $2 million to $2.6 million annually — was the best way to free up money to hire additional police officers and firefighters.

Its implementation, however, has been far from smooth. The city is working with nearly 70 telephone service providers, and many have complicated billing systems not ready to differentiate between regular customers and those who elected to opt out of the monthly 911 fee, Mirabelli said.

The city is not sure how many more customers have been mistakenly charged, or even the total number of phone lines being assessed, because some phone companies have resisted sharing customer information, Mirabelli said. It's up to the companies to collect the monthly fee and forward the money to the city.

The city, meanwhile, has no system in place to charge those on the per-call plan if they actually dial 911. The Police Department's new dispatch system is not scheduled to be operational until the third week of September.

The opt-out alternative —- believed to be the first of its kind in the state -— largely was crafted to strengthen the fee against the type of legal challenges filed against other cities collecting 911 fees. Earlier this year, a state appeals court ruled Union City's fee was a special tax needing voter approval. Others worry the fee could prevent people from reporting emergencies. (info from Ventura County Star)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

8-year-old girl made over 100 prank 911 calls

No charges were filed against an 8-year-old girl who made more than 100 prank calls to emergency operators in Sheboygan, Wisconsin in February, 2007.

Lt. Jim Risseeuw of the Sheboygan County Sheriff's Department said the unidentified girl was traced with the help of AT&T and TracFone, which identified the phone's owner as the girl's mother. The woman had stopped using the phone but all cellphones can call 911 even if they don'y have active service.

Risseeuw said the third-grader identified herself to dispatchers as "Matthew" when she made the calls, some of which contained profanities. However, he said because of her age, she won't be charged. "At this point, the matter was corrected," Risseeuw said. "We'll leave it for the parents to deal with." (info from UPI)

Monday, August 11, 2008

After wife shot him, cop called a cop, not 911

When Eleanor Adderley fired four shots at her police chief husband in their Plantation, Florida home, he didn't call 911. Instead Frank Adderly called another top cop, Plantation Deputy Police Chief W. Howard Harrison.

Adderley had reached out to Harrison earlier the night of July 8 with concerns about his wife. Harrison said he and Adderley are on a contact list of upper-level police administrators in Broward County, and it is not uncommon for one chief to call another.

When asked if the situation was out of the ordinary, Harrison said: "Aside from the obvious? No. I get phone calls all the time."

Eleanor Adderley was charged with felony aggravated assault -- not attempted murder. She told authorities that she didn't intend to hit her husband -- only to scare him.

Formal charges were expected to be filed within the next week.

The shooting came less than two months after she learned about an affair her husband had. The facts of the case do not support charging her with attempted murder, said David Bogenschutz, Eleanor Adderley's attorney. "It's a horribly traumatic situation for her and her family as a whole, "he said. "She is dealing with it as best she can with the support of a lot of people and healthcare professionals."

Despite criticism from outsiders, the majority of Fort Lauderdale city commissioners have defended Adderley and described it as a private matter. "'He has personal problems in his family he needs to get through," said City Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson, who called Adderley a "good police chief."

At least one person is calling for a city of Fort Lauderdale investigation into Adderley's actions.

"Maybe he didn't want the media to find out he and his wife were running into apparently serious domestic issues," said Ken Harms, former city of Miami police chief who testifies on police matters. "Why did he call another deputy chief of another department rather than 911?"

He questioned how Eleanor Adderley got access to the chief's gun. "Did he leave it unsecured and if so why? His failure to properly secure his weapon raises serious concerns," (info from the Miami Herald)

Friday, August 8, 2008

911 caller died after operator error

Darlene Dukes in an Atlanta, Georgia suburb, died Saturday waiting for help that was delayed 25 minutes because a 911 operator sent emergency help to the wrong address.

The 911 operator has been fired, said Alfred "Rocky" Moore, Fulton County's 911 director. County officials are apologizing for an error they say should not have been made.

The operator, whose name was not released, dispatched crews to Wells Street in Atlanta when Dukes was at home on Wales Street in Johns Creek north of Atlanta. Moore said the operator misheard the address spoken by Dukes, who was "in respiratory distress."

The operator should have noticed, Moore said, the call came from a cell tower in North Fulton, not Atlanta. "We are taking action against the employee," Moore said. "It's warranted."

Moore said the operator stayed on the phone with Dukes for 25 minutes waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Dukes fell silent 17 minutes into the call. The remaining eight minutes the operator spends imploring Dukes to respond, Moore said.

Johns Creek authorities responded within five minutes once the error was discovered, Moore said. By then, though, it was too late.

Ida Dukes, her mother, asked, "What happened to my daughter? Something went wrong and I would like to find out. If they had responded timely, would she be alive today?" Derrick Dukes, her brother, said, "To say that Darlene could still be here, I would really hate to think that something went wrong."

The mistake, Moore said, is one that should not have happened. Operators, he said, are trained to listen to folks in distress but also to focus on where cell calls come from. The operator, he said, should have recognized the discrepancy and asked questions, Moore said. (info from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Drunk called 911 five times about cops

Early Sunday morning Randall Wasden of Tampa Florida got into a dispute with his brother. When deputies arrived, Wasden, who was drunk, did not like the way they handled the situation so he called 911 five times within an hour.

Each time, he was belligerent and cursed at dispatchers, demanding that they send deputies to talk to him. 911 dispatchers told him to stop calling unless he had an actual emergency, and he told them he was just calling to get deputies to talk to him.

By the fifth call, Wasden got his wish. Deputies returned to his home and arrested him. He was charged with misuse of the 911 system and released on $500 bail. (info from Tampa Bay Online)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Man told 911 that slot machine stole his money

When Carlos Gutierrez lost money in a slot machine at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, Florida early Monday, he didn't just walk away, he called 911 to report that a slot machine stole his money.

Gutierrez was told by dispatchers that the slot machine did not steal his money and that it was a crime to call 911 to report it did.

After acknowledging that his call to 911 was wrong, Gutierrez left the casino and and called 911 again to report a slot machine stole his money.

Gutierrez was arrested and charged with making a false 911 call, a misdemeanor. Described in jail records as a self-employed investor, Gutierrez was held in jail with no bail set. He was on felony probation when arrested. (info from Tampa Bay Online)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

911 call records teen murdering his mother

A Vermont teenager has pleaded not guilty to charges he beat and fatally shot his own mother. Police say the murder was recorded on a 911 call.

14-year-old Christian James Taylor is charged in the death of his 40-year-old mother Francine Morgan at their home in Wells.

Court documents say Morgan called 911 at 3:55 a.m. Saturday, that a recording of the call has her screaming and the sounds of one object striking another. It adds, "A short time later, the female's voice stops. There were no responses to the 911 dispatcher." Apparently Taylor beat her with a heavy flashlight and then shot her.

Although Taylor is being charged as an adult, Judge William Cohen ordered him held in juvenile detention center pending further proceedings. Taylor told police he had a dream that a "shadowy figure" attacked his mother. (info & photo from NECN)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Man arrrested for calling 911 about a sandwich

Police in Jacksonville, Florida say Reginald Peterson needs to learn that 911 is not the appropriate phone number to call for complaints that Subway left the sauce off a sandwich.

Peterson dialed 911 twice so he could have his sub made correctly. The second call was to complain that police officers didn't arrive fast enough.

Subway workers told police Peterson became belligerent and yelled when they were fixing his order. They locked him out of the store after he left to call police.

When officers arrived, they tried to calm Peterson and explain the proper use of 911. Those efforts failed, and he was arrested on a charge of making false 911 calls. (info from The Miami Herald)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Possible wrongful death suit over botched 911 call

The family of a Canadian toddler who died after ambulances were mistakenly dispatched to a home in another province is contemplating legal action after federal regulators found the Internet company and its call center at fault for the misdirection.

The Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission found call takers at the 911 call center failed to follow regulations in April when dealing with an emergency call from a Calgary family. For the Luck family, who lost 18-month-old Elijah in April after the botched call over their Internet-based phone line, there is some vindication in the findings.

"It's time the truth came out. We did everything right," Elijah's mother Khadija Luck, said.

Elijah died after his aunt called 911 from the family's home using their VoIP phone.

The toddler -- who was had medical problems for most of his life after being born several weeks premature -- was having trouble breathing after waking up from a nap.

The call for an ambulance was answered by Comwave's contracted call center just outside of Toronto. And when the call was disconnected -- for undetermined reasons -- an ambulance was dispatched to the Luck's former home in Mississauga, Ontario, based on the address the call center had in its system. The Lucks had moved to Calgary two years ago. The CRTC ruled the call center did not follow regulations when an operator failed to confirm the family's location.

When using a nomadic VoIP, the call could be coming from anywhere, CRTC director-general of telecommunications Paul Godin said. No matter what the address is on file, the call may not be originating from that site. "Comwave, the call center Comwave uses, didn't follow the rules," he said.

In a statement released Wednesday, Comwave president Yuval Barzakay said the company and its contracted call center will adhere to the "new rules and obligations" outlined by the federal body.

The Luck family has since changed to a land-based phone line. (info from & Calgary Herald. Photo from Calgary Herald)