QUOTE(Quistis88 @ Apr 13 2005, 09:40 PM)
See it to believe it.
It's a mood car! Shouldn't they have come out with these in the 70's to go with everybody's ring?ADD ON 4/13."
This is up there with the western cheesburger call in my book. Sorry about the cut and paste the site required sign in.
Mom not laughing at 911 dispatcher's 'joke'
By Leila Fadel
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
WATAUGA - Lori came home to find her daughters fighting that Monday evening. Her 12-year-old had kicked a hole in the door, and the girls were hitting and throwing things at each other. She feared one or both would be seriously hurt.
She called 911 and asked for help. Her 12-year-old daughter was out of control, she told the call-taker.
"OK. Do you want us to come over to shoot her?" the dispatcher asked, according to a recording released this week. For five seconds, the line went dead.
"Are you there?" the call-taker asked.
"Excuse me?" Lori said.
Mike Forbess, a dispatcher of five years for the Watauga Department of Public Safety, then told her he was joking and apologized. But Lori cannot get his comment out of her head.
"This is a slap in the face that my child was not important enough, my call for help, my 911 call was not important enough that he had to make a joke about it," Lori said Monday. She asked that her last name not be used to avoid identifying her daughters, one of whom has emotional problems.
Forbess immediately told his supervisor about the call. He received a letter of reprimand two days later. Forbess received a second letter of reprimand from Chief David Van Laar on Monday, the same day the Star-Telegram obtained a copy of the 911 call recording, and of Forbess' disciplinary records.
The mother, however, said her faith in the 911 system remains shaken. She said she plans to file a formal complaint.
"I do not have words to tell you how shocked I am that someone is allowed to do this," she said. "You don't do people like this, and then get a slap on the wrist."
In his letter to Forbess, Van Laar wrote: "This type of response cannot be tolerated, and this letter shall serve as notice that any future unprofessional responses while answering the 911 line will be cause for termination."
But the reprimand is not enough, the mother said.
The next time she has an emergency, she said, she won't feel safe calling 911.
"This man does need to be disciplined," Lori said. "How can a person in this line of work be so unfeeling that he asked a person who needed help, 'Would you like us to come over and shoot your child?'
"That's an interoffice disciplinary action," she said of the reprimands. "That doesn't do anything.
Van Laar made no excuses for the dispatcher.
"The reason I didn't take tougher action is, he immediately owned up to his supervisor and said he made a mistake," Van Laar said. "He's a good employee. He just made a severe mistake which is inexcusable. ... This is not something you should hear on the other end of a 911 call."
In an interview Monday, Forbess said he is sorry for his comment to the woman. In five years with the department, the dispatcher has never been disciplined for his handling of 911 calls.
Forbess has received two commendations from community members for his work. He was disciplined once with a written warning for working an unauthorized shift for a co-worker.
"I am so sorry for what I said to that lady, and I can never make it up to her," Forbess said. "I'm ashamed of my actions, what I said and what I did. I would take it back if I could, but I can't. I'm just very sorry that I did it. It was a poor choice of things to say."
Forbess said that he sometimes tells jokes or changes his tone of voice to ease the stress of a caller. In this case, he said, his words made the situation worse.
"I admit what I did. It was stupid, it was inexcusable and I'm sorry," Forbess said. "I know it's not enough for her or for the papers or for the rest of the world. I've taken the punishment that they gave."
""This is a slap in the face that my child was not important enough, my call for help, my 911 call was not important enough that he had to make a joke about it."