911 dispatchers train to respond quickly - WFSB 3 Connecticut

911 dispatchers train to respond quickly

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SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

The call Amanda Berry made to dispatchers during her escape has some people scratching their heads as to whether it was handled properly.

"She had been missing for 10 years. One thing we are going to make sure - we are not going to lose contact with her ever again till the police are with her," said Darren Powell, a dispatch operator.

Powell has taken all sorts of calls in his 17 years as a 911 dispatcher. He says the 911 call made by Berry in Cleveland stood out for a number of reasons.

"There were things that could have been done differently. He never asked for suspects, 'do you need an ambulance?' We would have never let her off the phone here in our center," said Powell.

Three hundred thousand 911 calls come into Saginaw dispatch each year and while there's no official script, dispatchers are trained to handle all sorts of calls.

"There's no textbook that tells you how to take a call, there's no flip chart that you can follow - if they say this, then we are going to say this. You just have to know how to talk to people and sometimes it's very difficult when they are screaming and they are really out of control, you just have try to bring them down a little," said Powell.

Powell says 911 operators are human and the job can take a toll.

"Sometimes after taking 10 calls in a row from people who shouldn't have called 911 to begin with, it gets a little easy to not treat it as importantly as you should," said Powell.

But Powell says the bottom line of their job is to get help to victims as quickly as possible.

"People say we are lifesavers. What we do is get the proper agency to the right location as quickly as we can and they did that and that's the most important thing. They got her the help that she needed, thank goodness she is finally out of that house," said Powell.

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