Published January 18, 2014
A Las Vegas 911 dispatch operator will keep her job after hanging up on a caller who came home from work to find his mother dead – and now the city’s fire department is planning to hire a quality control officer.
The emergency call – first reported on by 8 News NOW – began when a man phoned 911 and reached a Las Vegas Metro Police Dispatcher to say, “Please, my mom. I just got off work, and I think my mom is dead.”
The police dispatcher then reportedly routed the call to the dispatch office of the Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Department, which - according to its website - is responsible for medical emergencies along with the typical duties of a fire department.
"He says his mom passed away, I don't have an address yet," the Metro Police operator told the fire dispatcher, according to 8 News Now, to which the harried caller begged, "Please, she's purple!"
"Ma'am, ma'am," the fire dispatcher replied.
"I'm a guy!" the caller reportedly shot back.
“Ok, you need to stop. You need to calm down…I need a building number…Is she breathing at all?” the fire dispatcher reportedly asked.
“No! She’s purple,” the caller reportedly replied, to which the fire dispatcher seemed to lose her patience, saying, “OK, you don’t have to holler at me, I didn’t do it.”
At this point, the beleaguered man reportedly cursed the fire dispatcher, who promptly said, “Bye,” and hung up.
The original call-taker – from the Metro Police Department – remained on the line, however, and listened as the man reportedly continued, “Man, I don't know. I just got off work. I just worked like 12 hours today, and my mom... I can't believe it!"
Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Chief Willie McDonald now tells 8 News Now the fire dispatcher – who never was named - has been hit with an unspecified punishment ranging from a verbal warning to dismissal from her post.
"I guess I couldn't say this will never happen again, but we clearly have taken the steps in this case to make sure the employee is really clear on what should have happened, and there might be some retraining that might be necessary," McDonald said told the T.V. station in the aftermath of the incident.