The news out of Las Vegas today was tragic. A son comes home to find his mother either dead or dying, calls 911 in a panic, distraught, during the course of the call swears or uses abusive language (not clear) at the dispatcher and she hangs up. It is unclear also whether the dispatcher was punished either in being laid off or fired or in a warning. Given the difficulty, rather almost impossibility of holding public employees accountable, I suspect the dispatcher is still on the job.
No one should be hired as a 911 dispatcher or remain as a 911 dispatcher unless he or she is able to handle the emotional stress and pain that may be present in a caller's words, tone or volume, however inappropriate and beyond social norms it would otherwise be. To justify her actions of hanging up would be like justifying Payton Manning this Sunday leaving the game, uninjured because a Patriot had the audacity to sack him. Comment including therein a suggestion to avoid this sort of tragedy in the future. My condolences also to the victim's family--maybe, just maybe her death will prompt some 911 dispatcher training, changes and accountability so this type of tragedy in the future can be avoided.
911 Call Is Not A Miss Manners Test
The PC virus has just infected Las Vegas in another place
911 dispatcher can respond to only calm words of non expletive grace
Mother dead, mother dying, you must sir keep a calm face
If she is still on the job this is an absolute disgrace
If Vegas is dumb enough or frightened enough of union backlash
To keep her on after hanging up on some undisclosed verbal trash,
Then at least put these 911 dispatchers though the equivalent of Seal Hell Week
Where they are demeaned, yelled at, racially insulted and all manner of foul speak
We are humans not robots without emotions with death or injury at our feet
And an uncaring dispatcher trapped in a script as our politeness emotions defeat
If a dispatcher cannot handle such perceived emotional abuse
No right to this job--totally without to frantic callers any use
These callers are not going to be calmly asking for the time of day
But rather for help to keep death, injury, or crime at bay
Perhaps also the lesson of consequences to be on this dispatcher forever seared
Strongly suggest she go to the funeral and observe the families' sobbing and tears.
© January 18, 2014 Michael P. Ridley aka the