Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Man arrested for murder during 911 call

Police in Melbourne, Florida arrested a man and charged him with murder after he stabbed his roommate while on the phone with police. Kunta Grant was arrested Tuesday afternoon after he called 911 to report a dispute at his home. The argument escalated while Grant was on the phone and Grant stabbed Daniel Amore in the chest.

When police arrived at the residence they found Amore unresponsive and he was later pronounced dead at a hospital. Detectives said that Grant and Amore fought a lot and they had responded to the home on several occasions. Although Grant and Amore moved in recently, since 2000 police have been called 25 times to the address where the stabbing occurred.

Grant was charged with second degree murder and is being held in jail. Police said that Grant had just gotten out of jail in October after serving six months for driving on a suspended license; he was on supervised felony probation for that charge. (info & photo from WOFL & Florida Today)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Last-minute reminder:
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Nice story: 911 staff saves Christmas for poor kids

Chicago's 911 dispatchers rescued Christmas last week for a family whose distraught grandmother had called for help. Shirley Bell called 911 on the day before Christmas for her very upset 8-year-old grandson, Malik Parish.

"It was something about that grandmother's voice, and that child and his candidness. He said, 'I don't have any toys for Christmas,'" said 911 dispatcher Pamela Jenkins.

Bell, who has custody of five children, said she recently suffered a stroke and a heart attack, and support checks from the state had not arrived. Jenkins alerted co-workers and dispatched police officers, who found a nice, clean home without a single sign of Christmas.

Within hours, the 911 dispatchers and their families had gathered $200 for new presents to go with toys and clothes donated by their own children. Malik got a G.I. Joe and a PlayStation, and groceries were delivered on Christmas Day.

"There are countless times we want to help," Jenkins said. "I enjoyed it, and I wish we could help people more than we do." (info from UPI)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Man died after misdagnosis by 911 responders

Washington DC Fire Chief Dennis Rubin asked the city's inspector general to investigate his agency's handling of an emergency call in which a man complaining of chest pains and trouble breathing died hours after paramedics told him he had acid reflux and did not take him to a hospital.

Edward Givens was not breathing when a relative found him lying in a hallway in the early morning of Dec. 3. Paramedics who responded to a 911 call about six hours earlier instructed Givens to take an over-the-counter antacid for what they assessed as acid reflux and left, family members said. Givens's mother, Lolitha Givens, said she wanted her son taken to the hospital but that paramedics said he did not need to go.

"It was the department's view that, because of the public scrutiny in this case, it required us to seek an outside, independent review," said a spokesman for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.

Rubin's decision to involve the inspector general appeared in contrast with his predecessor's actions in the case of journalist David Rosenbaum, who was fatally beaten in a January 2006 street robbery near his home in Northwest Washington. Paramedics mistakenly treated Rosenbaum as a drunk and of low medical priority. Days after the initial 911 response, Fire Chief Adrian H. Thompson declared that "appropriate measures were taken" and that rescuers met "all standards of care." But a report issued months later found "multiple failures" in Rosenbaum's care and "alarming levels of complacency and indifference" among the city's emergency responders.

Rosenbaum's family filed a $20 million lawsuit against the city for a series of missteps but decided on a settlement in which the city vowed to improve emergency care. An EMS task force was chaired by Rubin, and in recent months he has said the department has implemented many of the group's recommendations. Etter said the department will fully cooperate with the inspector general. "Our goal is to maintain the public's trust at all times," Etter said. (info from The Wahington Post)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wacko shot by cop responding to 911 call

A Maitland, Florida police officer shot and critically wounded a mentally ill man Monday night after the man attacked his caregiver and lunged at police. Ronald Btesh tried to lock the front door when they responded to a call for help from his caregiver, Nohemy Castelblanco.

On a 911 call recording, a panicked Castelblanco is heard telling the operator about the attack. "The man is crazy," Castelblanco said. "He attacked me."

"Ma'am, you have to calm down and talk to me," the operator said. "Did he rape you?"

"Yes," Castelblanco answered.

Lt. Jeff Harris of the Maitland Police Department said Castelblanco had been struck several times, but Btesh never raped her as initially reported.

Officers forced their way into Btesh's residence about 11:15p.m. and confronted him at gunpoint. They shouted several orders at Btesh, but he did not comply and lunged at Officer Rebecca Denicola, police said. She fired her gun, striking Btesh three times. Denicola was placed on paid administrative leave.

Btesh was in critical condition Tuesday at a hospital.

Btesh's caregiver told authorities he is mentally ill and that she has been caring for him since he was a child. (info from The Orlando Sentinel)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cable theft kills 911 service

About 800 Lane County, Oregon residents were unable to report emergencies via telephone land lines on Monday after metal thieves stole about 470 feet of Qwest phone line west of Junction City.

Affected residents with emergencies were urged to report them in person to a Fire Station. Volunteers were available to take emergency reports at the two fire stations and then relay them to the 911 Center by radio.

The value of the stolen wire was estimated at $18,000, said Sgt. Fred Swank of the Lane County Sheriff’s Office. Because the first-degree theft involved the disruption of a public utility, it rises to the level of a felony crime, he said.

The wire hung from telephone poles about 30 feet to 40 feet above the ground. “Someone had to physically climb up the pole to do this,” Qwest spokesman Bob Gravely said. “When someone knows what they’re doing, they can definitely do some damage.”

Gravely said people who steal telephone wire tend to work in rings. The recent arrest of a suspect in the Kelso, Wash., area led to the arrest of nine other people also accused of participating in a series of metal thefts, he said. The thieves almost certainly stole the telephone wire for its copper content, he said.

Swank said authorities have contacted local metal recycling companies to alert them to anyone trying to unload quantities of copper wire. “But they were probably smart enough to take it out of our area,” he said of the thieves. “It had to be somebody with a pretty significant truck to load it up.”

Swank said the crime put people in jeopardy. “If you live out where there’s no cell tower for your cellphone, and a land line is your only contact for police, fire or medical emergency, then this puts you at risk,” he said.

Swank said the thefts reflect a broken criminal justice system in which criminals know they will see little if any jail time if apprehended. “As thieves become more and more brazen, this is the kind of stuff they’re going to pull,” he said. (info from The Register-Guard)

Monday, December 22, 2008

911 money saving policy may not save money

The unpaid furloughs ordered for Stockton, California city employees over a month ago were intended to save money, but at the police and fire departments, furloughed emergency dispatchers are replaced by others who are then paid overtime.

At the Stockton Police Department's dispatch center, civilian employees field 911 and non-emergency calls, and direct officers to respond to those calls. The center never closes, must maintain staffing to handle Stockton's call volume, and is short seven dispatchers from a full strength of 39.

That necessitates calling in dispatchers on their days off to fill in. The practice is called "hire back." "We were already at the point that if anyone took a vacation, we had to hire back," Stockton police Capt. Trevor Womack said. "The furloughs didn't change any of that."

The furloughs, which will close city offices - but not dispatch centers - over the holidays, were adopted this fall to close a roughly $23.5 million municipal budget deficit. The furloughs and equivalent reductions by labor units are estimated to save the city about $1.1 million through June 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

Since police and fire dispatch centers can't close, their workers can't be furloughed all at once, but in small, short doses. Womack said that under current conditions, it is not possible for the city to save money by sending dispatchers home without pay.

"No way; that's obvious," he said. "We're going to have to hire back for every single one of those hours." There's no relief pool in the dispatch center. Any time someone's sick or on vacation, they have to hire back.

The Police Department did alert the city that furloughing dispatchers would lead inevitably to overtime and, possibly, to officers being brought in to work the phones instead of the streets, Assistant Chief Blair Ulring said. "We're 24 hours, 365 days. We can't close down," Ulring said.

In an October e-mail to Human Resources Director Dianna Garcia, Deputy Police Chief Mark Helms wrote: "You should also know that furloughs in the Communications Center will not save money." City Manager Gordon Palmer said he wasn't certain whether dispatcher furloughs would save money, but he said the program as a whole will. (info & photo from

Friday, December 19, 2008

Better than 911.
Give or get a Batphone for Christmas

Now everyone can have a flashing red phone like Batman

When there’s trouble in Gotham City, Police Commissioner Gordon calls caped crusader Batman, the secret alter ego of millionaire Bruce Wayne.

At Wayne Manor, the flashing red Batphone is answered by Alfred the butler, who tells Wayne about the trouble. Then Wayne and his young ward Dick Grayson put on their superhero costumes. As Batman and Robin, they race from the Batcave in the Batmobile to battle evil-doers, or rescue citizens in distress.

Now everyone can have a bright red flashing Batphone just like a superhero. When an emergency call - or even an ordinary call - comes in, a bright red light centered in a shiny chrome ring starts flashing to attract attention.

The Batphone has classic sixties styling, with heavy-duty construction, a two-year warranty, and is made in the USA. It gets all of its power from the phone line, and doesn’t require a power cord or batteries. It can work on an ordinary home phone line, or on an "analog extension port" in a business phone system.

The phone rings when the light flashes, unless a purchaser prefers the bell to be disconnected for silent signaling, or an optional high-pitched "BatSignal" or buzzer to be installed instead of the bell. Price with the bell is $122, including "ground" shipping to all 50 states. Fast shipping for delivery before Christmas is available at an extra charge.

Order online at, or call toll-free 1-888-225-3999.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Woman called 911 TEN THOUSAND times!

A judge in Canada still isn't sure that a Montreal woman deserves only a suspended sentence for inundating 911 operators with a whopping 10,000 calls over a 15-month span. Quebec court Judge Serge Boisvert said he is willing to give Marie-Eve Dean more time in therapy before handing down a sentence.

A police investigation revealed that Dean and her ex-brother-in-law overwhelmed 911 operators with so many calls between January 2006 and April 2007 that on some days real emergency calls couldn't get through.

The government said the acts were perpetrated in part due to a hatred for authority figures, including the police. Boisvert said he wants Dean, who was convicted on mischief charges in October, to get more psychiatric help. Dean, who is 21 weeks pregnant, started therapy at the end of October, about a week after Boisvert called her actions immature and irresponsible.

"There has been progress, serious progress that has satisfied Judge Boisvert," said Claude Boucher, Dean's lawyer. Boucher said the therapy aims to curb Dean's anger towards society.

Boucher said Dean is committed to the therapy for 21 weeks, but he also emphasized that the co-accused in the case, Salim Omar Sheik Abuu, received a nine-month suspended sentence even though he made more than half the calls. Boisvert responded that there is no guarantee Dean would get the same sentence as her co-accused.

A report revealed that Dean was a high-risk to re-offend and Boisvert wasn't convinced that she'd owned up to her actions. "I'm pleased with your progress and hope it continues," he told her on Wednesday.

Boucher said outside the courtroom that Dean does realize the impact of her actions. "We can't change the past, but she realizes what she's done is wrong," Boucher said.

In October, Dean, who was accompanied by her mother and sister, swore as her family gave television cameras the finger while leaving the Montreal courthouse.

Boucher said he warned Dean's family he would rather not have them there if they weren't able to respect the right of journalists to be at the courthouse. This time Dean and her family were escorted by courthouse security without incident. Dean returns to court on Feb. 27. (info from

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sad story: woman stuck on tracks called 911, but was killed by train

A Lake Forest, California woman who died from injuries suffered when her car was struck by a freight train in Anaheim dialed 911 to report her predicament and was being urged by a dispatcher to get out of the car when the phone went dead.

Linda Kruger-Small was in a Honda Civic that got stuck on Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks and the car was struck by a freight train traveling from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Anaheim police Sgt. Rick Martinez said police received a 911 call from a woman asking for help because she was stuck on railroad tracks. A dispatcher who was advising her to get out of the car was able to hear a man trying to help the woman -- but then the line went dead.

Motorists who stop at the signal have to cross the tracks before turning right or left. Martinez said the woman may have miscalculated and instead of driving over the tracks to turn on the street, turned right or left on the tracks, the sergeant said.
Had that happened, "the car could have become disabled on the tracks," he said. She may have not been able to move the car forward or back up.

The bystander, who unsuccessfully tried to get the woman to get out before the train struck the car, pulled her out after it was hit. The woman was taken to a hospital where she died.

Martinez emphasized that until a full investigation is complete police will not know for sure what happened. Lena Kent of BNSF Railways said Monday that the crossing is in a designated quiet zone, where the conductor does not normally sound a whistle, but he did when he saw the car on the tracks.

To qualify for quiet zone designation, the crossing has enhanced safety equipment including a concrete median. The equipment is maintained by the railroad and was working, Kent said.

"Why it was sitting there, we don't know," Kent said, adding that the woman would have had to drive onto the tracks before the gate arms lowered. Martinez did not know how much time Kruger-Small would have had between getting on the tracks before the arms lowered and when the train struck the car. He said he has driven it and it appears to give ample warning, but once events were set in motion, "things happened very fast." Police were still searching for additional witnesses, Martinez said. (info from

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mother's 911 call prevents son's suicide

Three plainclothes Norwalk, Connecticut police officers tackled a man threatening to jump off a ledge of parking garage on Monday afternoon. The man's mother had called 911 after she spoke to him on his cellphone and became concerned that he might harm himself.

Police began searching the downtown area for a car matching the mother's description of her son's "rusty Toyota missing a gas cap."

Officers had put in numerous calls to the man's cellphone, Deputy Chief Rosemary Arway said, but he did not respond. They were able to locate the "despondent" 25-year-old and multiple police cars and a fire engine responded.

According to Arway, police set up a perimeter around the entire city block. The three officers approached the man from behind, grabbed him and wrestled him to the ground. He was transported to an ambulance and taken to a Hospital. (info from The Hour)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Not wacky, just surprising. Someone called 911 about TV store burglary

Cheektowaga, New York Police say General Garett of Lewiston broke a window at the Rosa's Home Store in Cheektowaga and took three flat-screen TVs. But a vigilant neighbor heard the noise and called 911.

Once Cheektowaga Police arrived, Garett sped away with the TVs in his Suburban. Police followed, and Garett led them to a parking lot at the Walden Galleria, and then to Buffalo. The chase ended with a crash in Buffalo. The Suburban hit another vehicle and cops apprehended Garett.

A Cheektowaga police car was also damaged in the incident. None of the drivers were seriously injured. The manager at Rosa's says it's fantastic that a neighbor alerted police by calling 911, a sign that there are indeed people looking out for others. (info from WKBW TV)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fireman charged with false 911 call

A firefighter who was thought to have been angry about department budget cuts and station closings was arrested for falsely reporting a fire at a public school on City Island in the Bronx, New York. Nicholas Vrettos, who joined the department in 2002, is charged with a felony count of falsely reporting an incident.

Fire officials said that on Dec. 4, a fire was reported — but not found — in the cafeteria of a school. The 911 call followed an announcement by Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta that Ladder Company 53, where Vrettos worked, would be partly closed at night.

The Department of Investigation, which was notified by the Fire Department that a firefighter was implicated in the false alarm, traced the call to a business that Vrettos operates. He faces up to seven years in prison.

“Calling in a false alarm to 911 is not the way to protest a budget cut that prompted a partial closure,” Rose Hearn, commissioner of the Department of Investigation, said. “The timing of the calls suggests a deliberate attempt to tax the Fire Department’s ability to respond.” Hearn said that it “defies belief” that a firefighter would risk the safety of fellow firefighters and the public by calling in a nonexistent emergency.

Scoppetta called the acts “unforgivable.” He said, “Anyone who shows such blatant disregard for our firefighters’ time and the safety of the public should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

A firefighters’ union spokesman said that because Vrettos was not on duty at the time of the call, he would not be represented by a union lawyer. (info from the New York Times)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Shooting victim disappeared after calling 911

A man from South Arlington, Texas disappeared early Wednesday after telling a 911 operator that he was being followed by men who were shooting at him. The man, Jose Lira, 41, also pounded on a neighbor's door, asking her to call police.

Lira called 911 about 1:30 a.m. while he was driving toward his home. When officers arrived at the house, they found neither Lira nor his pursuers. "We don't know if he ran off, or they took him or what happened," Lt. Blake Miller, a police spokesman, said.

Evidence of a struggle was found at Lira's residence, Miller said. His wife and children were home; none was injured. Lira's cellphone was found and his vehicles were parked outside when officers arrived.

In the 911 call, Lira, speaking Spanish, identified himself and told the 911 operator that he was using a cellphone. The operator tried to determine his location while he told her about gunshots. In the background, popping sounds could be heard, as well as the sound of dogs barking. Lira told the operator that he was being followed home by four people with pistols riding in a car and a truck.

"My children are here," Lira said, apparently as he arrived home. As the 911 operator tried to get the address, the call was disconnected.

A neighbor said he heard dogs barking early Wednesday but heard no gunshots. Another said she heard a man screaming, and then a frantic knock at the door. Lira was yelling for someone to call the police, she said. "But he didn't say why he wanted us to call the police," the neighbor said. She did not open the door, she said, but someone called 911.

Lira is about 6 feet tall and weighs about 240 pounds. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Ben Lopez at 817-459-5373 or Crime Stoppers at 817- 469-8477. All tipsters can remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward up to $1,250. (info from the Star-Telegram)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lucky, not wacky: woman called for rescue from bottom of well

An 82-year-old Swanzey, New Hampshire woman was rescued Sunday afternoon after she fell into a 12-foot well in her back yard. Frannie Guion was able to call for help with her cellphone after she fell into the well while she was doing her laundry. The well was hidden by grass and dirt.

"I think it was just a miracle we were able to get the call and help her," said Swanzey fire Chief Norm Skantze.

Guion called 911 and initially said that her legs were stuck. But rescuers found that her head wasn't visible from the surface. "I'm not even sure she fully realized what happened because it happened all of a sudden," Skantze said. "It was not what we were anticipating when we were responding."

Twenty rescuers responded. They used a tripod system that spanned the hole, allowing a rescuer to be lowered. Guion was then lifted from the well with an oversized belt.

The rescue took about 15 minutes and was done before dark. Guion's grandson, Josh Guion, said that he hadn't seen his grandmother since the fall, but he said she's a tough woman.

"She had knee replacement surgery and walks around, gets around fine," he said. "She's in good shape for her age." He said that she broke a rib, but it could have been much worse. "She could have died last night if she didn't have her cellphone," he said. (info from WMUR TV)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Drunk arrested for eight calls to 911

A drunken man in Sea Pines, South Carolina faces a criminal charge for allegedly calling 911 eight times over a seven-hour period to report that his ex-girlfriend had stolen his dog, according to a Beaufort County sheriff’s report.

Dispatchers told the man several times that he needed to call the non-emergency number. Sea Pines security had already written a report about the alleged theft of the dog and told the man how to get a warrant.

Deputies responded twice, and arrested him the second time Friday after learning he was “harassing and annoying” the dispatchers by “cursing, demeaning and criticizing them,” the report said. He was charged with unlawful use of 911 and taken to the county jail.

His ex-girlfriend has an active restraining order against him. (info from The Island Packet)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Man killed after threatening to kill cops when father called 911 about him

A Sonoma, California man who vowed never to go back to prison was fatally shot Saturday. Craig Von Dohlen threatened to shoot police officers who responded to a 911 call, apparently from his father. The caller told police that Von Dohlen had a loaded .22 caliber rifle and was threatening to kill others and commit suicide.

On the 911 recording, Von Dohlen can be heard threatening the two deputy sheriffs and two Sonoma police officers dispatched to the home. The officers encountered Von Dohlen in the backyard of the home, and multiple shots can be heard on the tape.

Von Dohlen was struck by gunfire. Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Lisa Banayat confirmed Sunday that officers at the scene fired their weapons, but it wasn't clear whether their shots killed the man. She said she didn't know if Von Dohlen fired his weapon.

He was pronounced dead at Sonoma Valley Hospital. The deputies and officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave, following protocols for officer-involved shootings. An autopsy is scheduled. (info from The San Francisco Chronicle)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Gun victim died after neighbors delayed 911 call

For nearly an hour, neighbors watched a man lying in a parking lot outside their windows, but during that time no one called 911. Now that man is Kansas City's latest homicide victim.

Police said Amir Muhammad died of a gunshot wound to the head. Police said he laid in the parking lot of Friendship Village, gagging on his own blood. A woman who wants to be known only as Sybil said people nearby saw him in the parking lot. "They apparently thought he was drunk, or on drugs, whatever. But it's none of my business," she said.

Others in Friendship Village said as horrible as it sounds, they aren't surprised that no one was willing to call police, and instead watched Muhammad lay on the pavement in plain sight. "They live in fear of getting involved. They're afraid to get involved because it connects them in some kind of way," neighbor Crystal Knickerbocker said.

But community activists say such fear is not justified. They believe the unwillingness of ordinary citizens to help police by simply calling 911 shows why Kansas City is expected to have more homicides this year than any other time this decade.

"It says a bad thing about this village of people here. We should have citizens that at least be good samaritans," anti-crime activist Ron MacMillian said. "A call to police to say, 'Hey, somebody's out there bleeding to death,' is not snitching if that's what you're worried about. It's showing concern for your brother."

Muhammad was rushed to the hospital Monday night, but died Tuesday morning. Some wonder if that hour he lay in the parking lot could have meant the difference between life and death. (info from Fox TV)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Prison escapee arrested after calling 911

A man listed as an escapee from Luzerne County, Pennsylvania for more than two years was arrested Wednesday morning after he called 911 to report a domestic argument he was having with his girlfriend in a hotel room.

Patton Township police responded, and a routine check revealed that in September 2006, Darren Dixon failed to return to Luzerne County Prison from a work release program.

He was taken into custody without incident and placed in jail to await extradition. (info from Centre Daily Times)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

911 caller is suspected of elder abuse

Yesterday, police in Texas City, Texas were still searching for the person who made a 911 call that led to the discovery of a woman who was barely clinging to life.

Police said they are “very confident” the man who made the call was the woman’s son and confirmed he had lived in the house where the woman was found.

Linda Sue Sainz remained in a hospital on Tuesday, four days after police found her on the floor of her home. Police said her home was filthy, that she was malnourished and that maggots were feeding on open sores on her back.

Police were tipped through a 911 call late Friday night by a man claiming to be Sainz’s son. When officers arrived, they found Sainz alone in the house. Police are treating the case as one of neglect of a disabled person.

A state agency, Adult Protective Services, is conducting its own investigation.

Gwen Carter, a spokeswoman for the agency, said Adult Protective Services conducted 8,366 investigations of confirmed cases of abuse or neglect of either elderly or disabled people in the 12-county region that includes Galveston County last year. That’s a 55 percent increase from the 5,400 cases investigated in 1997.

Many cases could be prevented if friends, neighbors or family members paid closer attention. The most important thing is to constantly communicate with a neighbor, family member or friend who is elderly or disabled. Talking to that person or checking up on him goes a long way in preventing possible abuse or neglect.

“It’s everybody’s responsibility to look out because when something happens, (the consequences are) horrible when it does,” she said.

Some of Sainz’s neighbors indicated they noticed unusual behavior or changes in lifestyle.

“She would just drive her car frequently, but then all the sudden she stopped driving it and I noticed her son was driving her car more often,” said neighbor Pascual Valdez. “I was assuming she moved away because we hadn’t heard from her in awhile.”

While not commenting on the Sainz case specifically, Carter said neighbors or friends who notice a change in behavior should check on the person. “There’s no harm done just to ask someone how he or she are doing,” she said. “If you do, you may just save a life.”

Carter said people should look out for signs of trouble. “If you see them and they are unkempt or unclean or if they have pets and they begin to accumulate lots of more pets, you should ask,” she said.

Not seeing a person for a long time is also an indicator something is wrong, Carter said. She also said cases of neglect are not necessarily criminal cases. Sometimes, a person just doesn’t have the means to care for the victim. (info from the Galveston Daily News)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Man busted after calling 911 for gas

A man in Watertown, New York man faces drug and alcohol charges after he called 911 to report he was out of gas.

Christopher J. Munn Jr. was charged with Unlawful Possession of Marijuana and Open Container of Alcohol when State Police investigated a complaint of an illegally parked van.

While investigating, the trooper at the scene was informed that the driver had called Jefferson County 911 to report he was out of gas.

The trooper also noticed a glass pipe and a device commonly used to grind marijuana, in plain view in the vehicle. The pipe was found to contain marijuana residue.

Munn was issued appearance tickets for court. (info from Newport Television)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Blackout kills 911 service in Florida

Most small business bosses and even home computer users know they need a back-up battery system to keep their computers running when the juice stops flowing from the electric company. Hospitals, hotels and government buildings often have big diesel generators standing-by to provide emergency electricity.

But apparently the folks who run the 911 center in Broward County, Florida (including Fort Lauderdale) had too much faith in the power company.

The outage occurred around 9:45 a.m. on Sunday and affected the 911 call system and the computer aided dispatch system. The department's non-emergency phone line was also affected. Within an hour, the 911 and computer aided dispatch systems were operational again. The non-emergency phone line was restored around noon.

A sheriff's office spokesperson said Florida Power & Light caused the outage. There was no estimate of how many calls may have been missed when the systems were down. Reports that the center was seeking proposals for the installation of a generator powered by gerbils on a treadmill could not be confirmed. (info from