TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A 911 dispatcher is in trouble over his response to a mother who called for help after her 10-month-old son accidentally locked himself in her car, police said.

Shana Dees said she put her son Jack in his car seat Saturday afternoon and when she went to move a shopping cart, Jack hit the lock button on the keychain remote, The Tampa Tribune reported. She called 911 because it was hot inside the vehicle and said she was shocked by the dispatcher’s response.

“We won’t be able to try and gain access to the car unless the child is in some kind of distress,” Dees said the dispatcher told her. “And by that point, they may just smash your windows.”

And then he hung up.

Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said the department’s protocol regarding a child locked in a car is to always send an officer and fire rescue to the scene. The dispatcher didn’t even ask the location of the vehicle.

“That’s not how we do business,” McElroy said.

She said disciplinary action could range from a written reprimand to a suspension.

Dees said she was calm while talking to the dispatcher, but after she realized the police weren’t coming, panic set in. The boy had crawled out of his car seat and was starting to become lethargic.

“What do you do when you call the cavalry, and then you’re told the cavalry is not coming today,” she told the newspaper.

An off-duty police officer at the drug store called 911 and spoke to a different dispatcher who sent help.

In the meantime, a nurse grabbed a wrench from the store’s utility closet and smashed the window. By then, Jack had been inside the car for 15 minutes. The nurse got the boy out and poured cool water over Jack’s head.

Dees said she and her husband thanked the nurse, but they didn’t get his name.

“He acted when nobody else did, and we’re very grateful he did that,” she said.

Jack has rebounded, but he’s no longer allowed to play with car keys.

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5 thoughts on “911 Dispatcher In Hot Water After Hanging Up On Mom Who Called For Help

  1. Pallas on said:

    Seriously, what are you talking about? This story was on the nightly news. The mother and child are Caucasian. I everything about race with you? You saw the picture of the AA child that BAW used for this story and ran with it. Your comment reads like a jumbled mess written by that idiot Sarah Palin.

  2. redbone1954 on said:

    I agree with all the other comments calling for that person to be fired. If he did not know the correct answer he should have asked someone IDIOT!!!!!!!!!

  3. seriously on said:

    I agree Linda, he should be fired, this was not misinformed oopsie! or a mistake it was willful and malicious..If these people what to work on trust within the black community..They should start by cleaning up their own brokenness. She should ask for some of her tax dollars back, since she cannot get the same service as others…These people live off our wages…

    • Oh. My. GOD! Why do you assume she was in a black community? Why do you assume that this moron dispatcher doesn’t give “others” the same service he gave her? Everything is not about race. This about a bad employee who broke protocol needs to be fired. This is probably not the first time he’s handled a call in this manner. How do we know the race of the mother? Who’s to say he knew the race of the caller? How do we know that the dispatcher was white? Good grief! Only one comment before the race card was yanked out of the deck.

  4. This dispatcher needs to be FIRED ASAP before his disregard leads to a child’s or adults death.

    If there was a certain protocol to follow then he should have followed it and not disconnected the phone call.

    How would he have liked it if it had been his kid he was calling 911 for help and the dispatcher acted the way he did.

    Folks need to think before they react badly!

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