A 911 dispatcher is under investigation after taking Amanda Berry’s call seconds after she fled the Cleveland dungeon where she and two others had been held captive for a decade.
The desperate call for help led to the discovery of Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, who were found alive on Monday inside a house in the west side of the city.
But the 911 dispatcher – one of the first people Amanda Berry spoke to after her decade long captivity – has been criticized for not comforting the distressed caller and not keeping the 26-year-old on the phone until the police arrived.
The dispatcher came under fire as it was revealed last night that police bungled three calls that could have led to the earlier rescue of the sex slave victims.
Amanda Berry’s phone call on Monday evening from a neighbor’s phone lasted less than two minutes.
Amanda Berry, who disappeared in 2003 aged 14, is heard screaming down the phone to an Ohio police operator: “I’ve been kidnapped and I’ve been missing for 10 years, and I’m, I’m here, I’m free now.”
But multiple times the dispatcher’s response was: “Talk to the police when they get there,” before asking the name of Amanda Berry’s captor, as well as his age and ethnicity.
In the 911 call Amanda Berry implores the dispatcher that she needs the police immediately, but she is told authorities will be sent as soon as a “car becomes open”.
At one point when Amanda Berry says: “I’m Amanda Berry. I’ve been on the news for the last 10 years,” the dispatcher replies: “I got that, dear.”
In the recording the emotional cries from Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight can be heard.
As Amanda Berry becomes more frantic the dispatcher says: “The police are on their way; talk to them when they get there.”
The dispatcher, whose identity has not been revealed, repeats again: “I told you they’re on their way; talk to them when they get there, OK.”
“One of the things that jumped out was that after the dispatch took the information, she moved on to the next call. I think that realizing the gravity of the situation, the dispatch might have stayed on the call with that person,” Gary Allen, a dispatcher for 20 years in Berkeley, California told the Daily Beast.
“You generally want to hold the person on the phone and try to make a personal connection until law enforcement can get there.”
CBS58 played the full 9-1-1 call for Kenosha County Telecommunications and Training Officer Sandy Zuerlein, who admitted she would have kept Amanda Berry on the phone.
“In this call, she was afraid that the man who had her was coming back. If I had kept her on the phone, and he came back, we could have alerted officers,” Sandy Zuerlein said.
In response Cleveland Department of Public Safety Director Martin Flask said police were dispatched and on scene in the west side neighborhood in less than 2 minutes.
“While the call-taker complied with policies and procedures which enabled a very fast response by police, we have noted some concerns which will be the focus of our review, including the call-taker’s failure to remain on the line with Ms. Berry until police arrived on scene.
“Please be assured that this matter will be investigated, and if necessary, appropriate corrective action taken.
“I would like to note that the call-taker did take the call, create an event and send it to the channel dispatcher in less than 90 seconds. Within 1 minutes and 18 seconds from the time that the call-taker answered the call our dispatcher was broadcasting the assignment to available police units.
“As a result of the call-taker’s actions, police were dispatched and on scene in less than 2 minutes”
Meanwhile it emerged that police bungled three calls that could have led to the earlier rescue of the trio held in a house of horrors.
On one occasion, neighbors saw three naked girls on all fours with dog collars around their necks and three men controlling them in the back garden – but police didn’t even bother responding to their call.
The shocking revelations emerged last night as more details emerged about the nightmare ordeal suffered by the three women – Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight – who were finally rescued from their suburban prison in Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday.
The sadistic kidnappers raped their victims repeatedly over the last ten years, resulting in several pregnancies and the birth of at least one child, according to US reports.