Dumb Dispatcher: Fire or Forgive?

A 911 dispatcher (search) was reprimanded for responding to a mother's plea for help with an unruly child by saying: "OK. Do you want us to come over to shoot her?"

"I admit what I did. It was stupid, it was inexcusable, and I'm sorry," said dispatcher Mike Forbess.

The woman, identified only as Lori, said she told the dispatcher her 12-year-old had kicked a hole in a door.

After Forbess' comment, the woman fell silent.

Forbess told her he was joking and apologized. But the woman was offended.

Dumb dispatcher: fire or forgive?

A sample of your responses:

Reprimand the dispatcher and the irresponsible mother who raised a brat and can’t control her due to her lack of discipline, and now expects the public to pay for her lousy parenting by taking police of other jobs to handle her domestic problems.
Jim T.

No, the dispatcher should not be fired. He should get additional training, the mother has no control over her girls because she has no control over herself. Maybe the dispatchers supervisor if he has one, severely lacks supervisory skills. Just a thought,

I'm a 911 director in Cumberland County, Tennessee. If one of our dispatchers had made this statement he would be going home for three days without pay. If this had been part of a larger pattern of similar behavior he would be looking for a new job. 911 dispatchers must gain and maintain the trust of the people they serve — 24/7, professionalism must be the rule in all 911 Centers.
Bill H.
Crossville, TN

"911" is an emergency system that should be used only in the event of life or death situations. This woman was obviously at her wits-end when she called 911, but her lack of parenting skills was certainly not an emergency situation which warranted a call into the emergency dispatcher. Although sarcasm is rude, ignorance should be painful! The dispatcher should be coached concerning his professional manner, but the woman should be sterilized so she doesn't pollute the world with any more out-of control kids.
Eric P.

That operator is getting paid to assist the caller during an emergency or potential emergency, not use his job as a "test audience" for his "alleged" comedy act. This alone should be grounds for termination. While everyone is joking around and insulting the parental skills of the mother who called 911 over her kids, just remember... you can't see what is happening on the other side of that phone line! I think we should look in the mirror before judging how other's parent.
Arlington, TX

The dispatcher was out of line. But just what did the mother expect the police to do? Her 12 year old did not get that way over night and this is just another example of passing the buck. She has not been a parent for some time and now wants to pass it off to someone else. The entire 911 system is under attack with a multitude of minor inconvience calls which delay the handling of true emergency calls. That dispatcher knows what he said was wrong, he has already learned his lesson. The mother has learned nothing from this except that she now has another focus ... the rude dispatcher and not her unruly kid.
Disipline him ... NO. Disipline her ... YES.

That mother was out of line for calling 911 and wasting the dispatcher's time on her lack of parental control. The dispatcher's supervisor should educate people in the importance of only emergency calls to 911 not idiot parents who need therapy!
J. Bell
Toledo, OH

In our local area when the 911 dispatcher answers a call, the dispatcher says "911, is your emergency fire, police or medical?" The lady who called 911 about her teenagers being out of control, clearly did not have an "emergency." She had a personal problem! The dispatcher answered correctly, and should not even receive a reprimand.
James B.
Columbia, SC

Concerning the dispatcher, we all have "one customer too many" and we have no idea how many nincompoops he had to deal with that day.
He needs to be reminded that he should take a deep breath during times of rampant stupidity and that many brands of decaffeinated coffee have the full, rich flavor of regular brands.
Brian M.
Champaign, IL

After hearing the dispatcher's comments on the 911 call, I laughted so hard this morning. Emergency workers, at all levels, have sense of humor unlike many others. His comment was wrong, but funny and merely a joke as he stated. A letter of reprimand was appropriate.
Joseph T.
Ret. Lieutenant
Haddon Township, NJ

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