An Open Letter To Rude 911 And Emergency Services Operators
A young lady who worked at the Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo spoke about how rude the 911 operator was to her when she was trying to report an active shooting. As the racist gunman walked through the store filming himself shooting Black people, she was hiding, trying to save her own life. She did what most of us would do in that situation if we had access to a phone - call 911. According to Leticia, who worked as an assistant manager at the store, as she was trying to avoid being seen or heard by the mass murderer Payton Gendron, she was able to use a phone to call 911.
I'm scared for my life.
911 Operator Questioned Why Victim Was Whispering
Here comes the horrible part of the story. Leticia told WGRZ anchor Claudine Ewing how the 911 operator, a woman, yelled at her for whispering.
I tried to call 911 and I was whispering cause I could hear him close by. And when I whispered on the phone to 911, the dispatcher start yelling at me saying 'why are you whispering, you don't have to whisper.' And I'm trying to tell her ma'am he's in the store, he's shooting, he's an active shooter. I'm scared for my life. And she said something crazy to me, and then she hung up in my face. I had to call my boyfriend and tell him to call 911.
Credit: 11Alive via Youtube
I have personally experienced rude 911 dispatchers. Nothing like what Leticia had to go through at what is probably the scariest moment of her life, but rude nevertheless. The same night as the mass shooting, May 14, 2022, I was driving back from Niagara Falls on the 90 when I almost hit a car that had crashed into the side of the wall under the bridge for the 33. I called 911 to report the accident since it seemed as though it had just happened. First, it took about 10 rings before an operator picked up. When I finally got one, he was not friendly and curt.
I understand that emergency services operators have a hard job, but at the same time, you know what you're signing up for when you accept a job as a 911 dispatcher. When many people call 911, they are vulnerable, scared, in danger, and fearing for their lives or the lives of others.
Leave the attitude at the door.
It's not the time or place to be rude to people because you had a bad day. When a person called 911, they are in need of help and empathy. Hopefully, the 911 call Leticia made will be pulled and reviewed. If the operator did hang up on her, there should be disciplinary actions taken. When it comes to life and death situations, seconds can be the difference between someone surviving or dying.
Thankfully, the delay caused by having 911 hang up on Leticia, forcing her to call her boyfriend, did not result in the end of her life...but it very easily could have.
Credit: Today via Youtube