Cleveland dispatcher criticized for handling of Amanda Berry call

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Emergency dispatchers in Marion County are reacting to the call Amanda Berry placed in Cleveland earlier this week. While they say they can’t criticize the person who handled the call, they say they would have done a few things differently.

In calls that require immediate response, law enforcement is dispatched within seconds of the call. Also in cases like Cleveland, dispatchers would have stayed on the phone until officers were at the scene. The dispatcher in Cleveland has been criticized for not staying on the line until officers were at the scene.

“We would have stayed on the line to make sure that person got the help or to make sure nothing had changed especially when it was learned that she had been held captive for multiple years. With the captivity aspect as well as the anxiety and fear in her voice, absolutely we would have stayed on the line,” said  Lt. Col. Jeff Dine with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Marion County dispatchers are trained to listen to the caller, their tone of voice and for things happening in the background. They are also reminded to stay professional and not let their emotions about the call impede their ability to get the information and to get officers to the scene as soon as possible.

“We train our people that regardless of what you think or feel about the call, you respond in the proper way and this is what this dispatcher did – they sent the police and that’s basically all that you can do from a dispatcher’s standpoint,” said Larry Jefferson, Supervising Dispatcher with the Marion County Sheriff’s Communication Center.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Communication Center handled 1.3 Million 911 calls in 2012.

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