911 Operator Criticized For Rudeness Towards Amanda Berry

    May 8, 2013
    Amanda Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

The 911 operator who took the call from kidnap victim Amanda Berry has come under fire and is reportedly being investigated by her superiors after the recording was released this week.

Berry, who went missing at age 14 in 2003, has been held captive with two other women for ten years in a Cleveland home by Ariel Castro, who allegedly kept them as his sex slaves. She gave birth to a daughter during that time, and investigators are doing tests to determine who the girl’s father is. With the help of a neighbor who heard her cries for help, Berry was able to escape to a nearby home and call police while Castro was out of the house.

After Berry screams her name and says she needs help because she’s just escaped, the dispatch operator can be heard telling Berry to “talk to police when they get there” and says that a car will be sent as soon as it’s available. And though 911 operators are expected to stay calm in any situation, many think this woman didn’t show any compassion to a woman who was frantic to get help before her captor came back.

Berry, her daughter, and the two other women have been examined by doctors and are reportedly in good condition, although there were allegedly repeated pregnancies and miscarriages between the three adults over the years as they suffered the abuse of Castro.

  • lianna

    All potentially SERIOUS calls should be taken SERIOUSLY. A simple “Are you hurt?”, “Do you need an ambulance?”, or “Stay on the line with me until police get there.” would have gone a long way. There was no empathy or concern AT ALL. More like, okay gotta go now. talk to police when they get there (said FIVE times).

  • Frankjc3rd

    The dispatcher has probably been told to treat everyone the same. She did what she was supposed to do, and she still got into trouble.

    • lianna

      Yes, a level of calm would be necessary and I assume there are certain questions they must ask. However, the guy that broke in the door called 911 as well and was asked if an ambulance was needed. Asked if anyone needed medical attention. His call was taken seriously. This dispatcher seemed bored and ready to end the call as soon as possible.

      • Shadypines

        That’s what I was thinking. There’s a difference between being calm and being flippant. The dispatcher on this call was definitely flippant. She just sounded like she wanted to get this poor woman off the line. It’s my understanding that, when a caller has a potentially violent crime to report, the operator is supposed to stay on the line.

        • cathy c.

          Hmmm. That must be the rules where there are literally “Shady Pines”. In an urban city, where emergency operators tend to be busy taking literally hundreds of calls per night, they cant afford to stay on the line for “potential crimes” and do you know why?….because they are handling “confirmed crimes” or crimes in progress.

          • Miss Kiki

            Every call is a potential crime in progress, and every caller should be treated the same…not sure what your point was, I guess that it’s okay to do a half assed job if you don’t think the call is important? They should stay on the line as long as it takes, not a second less!

          • Jayron

            There is a protocol to use when handling these calls though. The dispatcher is trying to gather information and has to assume ALL CALLS are crimes in progress. Any simple minded person would know that. How would you like it if YOU called and they didn’t take you seriously or stay on the line with you?

          • Dorian W.

            Hope I don’t get YOU on the line if I ever have to call 911. I think the lady took one look at the adress/ neighborhood and thought “WHATEVER!,We’ll get to you when we get to you”

    • ALSTER

      was she a rookie or something i think i could have done better

      • ALSTER

        sounds like a women

      • Katie

        Agreed…my two year old son would have showed more empathy.

    • indy42631

      I dispatch in a small community. I can’t imagine how many 911 calls Cleveland gets in a day. I have to wonder if this operator was even aware of the people that were still missing. I won’t judge her on her job performance, but I would have kept the caller on the phone until help arrived…

  • Julie

    This operator acted like she couldn’t care less. I do not think they are trained to be that way.

  • Kevin

    Whoever wrote this must not have listen to the tape. The dispatcher was a male not a female.. Way to go!

    • lianna

      It was a female. For real.

    • pati looper

      Think you need to listen to the 911 call again. Or are you deaf you are the only one that says it was a man even the press says she.

    • Sherry

      Also, whoever wrote this needs to keep up to date. The two brothers were released early Wednesday. They, apparently, hardly ever went to the house and didn’t know the women were there. The brothers just happened to be with Ariel at a McDonalds when he was arrested.

    • Miss Kiki

      No it wasn’t!

    • drake

      The dispatcher was clearly a male. I don’t know why everyone is saying female.

  • Ann Lee

    The dispatcher was a cold fish for sure. It sounded as if she thought she was being lied to. She could have shown some common courtesy but she got sarcastic when the girl told her again she had been in the news. She said Yeah I got that the first time. REALLY??? I hope she NEVER gets treated that way if she is ever scared witless, hurt or in danger! She has no business in that position if she has no more compassion than that!

  • megh

    My first reaction when I heard the call was : Why didn’t she stay on the line with Amanda?” Here is someone saying she had been in captivity for 10 YEARS and you say “wait until the police get there” not “are you in a safe place ? are you still in danger ? is there anyone else with you ? More like: oh your cat is up a tree…ok we are on our way!Compassion and reassurance was definitely not in that call

  • chrissy p

    When Amanda Berry said she is free now and was kidnapped that would have alerted me and I would have said I am getting the cops there right now. This male dispatcher was a moron.

    • lianna

      She actually did report and respond the call in a timely manner. What is in question is her lack or empathy, and seeming to take the call as a fake or hoax… or just seeming uninterested.


    It was a miracle these ladies were found. Tagging the 911 operator for being less than profession is unfair. She did exactly what she was suppose to do…..Why do we always have to put some sort of blame one some for BS?

    • lianna

      Did she? Did she stay on the line? Did she inquire of the physical state of the caller? I think she did not.

    • drake

      Oh no “he” didn’t do what he was supposed to do. The 911 operator was the victim’s first line of contact; he was suppose to make her feel like he’s right there with her. Everytime Amanda tried to say something, he would say ..tell that to the police… Then when she kept saying her name Amanda Berry he rudely said “I got that”. Trust me, I know he’s kicking himself right now – and although we may never know, he’s going to be let go if he doesn’t voluntarily resign.

    • mary

      “When a car becomes available” this does not seem to me that the operator did not seem to take Amanda’s call seriously. She should not be working in the publics eye. she was not compassionate!!

  • cathy c.

    All calls received on 911 should be taken serious, but there is a reality to that job that is more important than being the “nice guy/girl”. While compassion is good, it is not a requirement for this job and sometimes for many good reasons, you just can’t offer that kind of service, especially on busy nights. The operator is required to identify the location, the need, “immediate” threat, suspect descriptions, priority of the call and then to dispatch a police car(or fire dept) there asap. Sometimes emergency operators have to move on to the next call, because that same operator may answer back to back emergencies. It is probable and even highly likely that the “next call”, may be someone holding to report a heart attack, shooting, robbery or assault in progress(suspects still at the location with paramedics needed). If it were your relative on hold, would you want them to continue holding? Again, compassion is great if there is time for it, but how about being a caller to report a child that is not breathing, but you continue to hold because the emergency operators are all taking their time and being compassionate with other callers. Compassion is nice, we all want that, but sometimes its just not possible. Its like having 3 doctors in an emergency room with 10 life threatening emergencies at the same time. You just have to provide what is necessary and quickly move on to the next patient. God forbid someone die because you just didnt get to them, because the doctor took the time to provide bedside manner.

    • lianna

      Good greif, she didn’t have the ONLY line. THIS was the call she got, and her response.

    • http://yahoo.com Roxene

      From that logic, I’d hate to be the 10th gunshot victim at your hospital, Cathy. Emergency means dire. This operator didn’t care. It sounded like the girl was “interrupting” her day. She is supposed to handle and treat each call as an emergency with care, compassion and calm, but most of, INTELLIGENCE. Sometimes getting clear answers come from asking questions in a caring manner. Granted, she may get pranks, idiots and calls that are not emergencies, but does she treat everybody with that same callousness? Then they should fire her or give her sensitivity training. Maybe she needs a few days off to figure out if this what she really wants to do. I think a Master’s degree in empathy should be a requirement for this job.

  • MsBunny

    This is an old, old, old, old, old, old story…These people are not trained to care, and are certainly not REARED to care! They are there for a paycheck, and they treat the citizens with contempt. Check in anonymously at City Hall, and you will find the very same attitude in every department.

    • Desesor

      They ARE trained to show compassion and to at least ACT like they care, and to reassure the caller that everything is going to be alright. This person did NONE of that.

      • DrOliverSacks

        “Trained” is used much too liberally in this country. These people are not trained professionals anymore than customer service people at a phone company. Authority figures and the admin people that support them in this government are a joke. They are not good at their job in general because no one is there to actually serve the community. I was in the military a long time, enlisted and commissioned and in the military it is the same. Idiots run everything in our government. Stop allowing C students (and less even) to be cops, military, government employees and then we will have respectable outcomes on these matters. That will never happen though, so for now, you have to put up with idiots like this dispatcher.

  • angel smith

    The dispatcher obviously is in need of training.I was appalled by the lack of professionalism she demonstated.

  • http://yahoo edith girardin

    the 911 operator should have took the call a little more respectful and showed more compassion to Amanda and the sitsuation……

  • http://yahoo edith girardin

    i feel the 911 operator should have showed more respect and compassion to Amanda Berry…

  • LKM

    Wouldn’t you think with all of the Code Adam and Amber Alerts there would be a data base where 911 operators simply type in a name and the info shows up? Wouldn’t Google or Yahoo have done the job on a notebook? The operator was cold, but if there was the simple database available would anyone have cared if the job got done? First would be stay on the phone police are one the way or go someplace afe, second SHOULD be entering the name and pulling up info. Most 911 personell aren’t paid all that much so I try to cut them some slack and this is a perfect example of bad phone manners combined with lack of simple tech from a smartphone.

  • Ms Purple

    I think this was a terrible situation that is getting minutely analyzed the morning after. I thought I heard that (s)he was relatively new on the job also. My only criticism was that she didn’t ask her to stay on the line and there could be a dozen reasons why that wasn’t feasible. I just thank God that whatever happened that day brought these women their freedom. A lot of good people and circumstances made that happen!

  • Tee

    I don’t care if she was new or not, I am quite positive operators receive training BEFORE being placed on the job. I also would think that as part of the training, the dispatchers are given many different type scenario calls, non-emergency, to highest level emergency. The dispatcher needs admonished, her personnel folder flagged and study up on potential incoming situational calls.

    As for those saying would you want to be the next person in line in a holding pattern while the dispatcher stays on the line….it is NOT like a 911 call center is manned by a few people, nor is every call a true emergency, some people call 911 because they don’t know their police departments non-emergency phone number. Some people call 911 with idiotic calls (like the person griping about a fast food restaurant order, or some other completely idiotic call) – those people should be slapped with an automatic fine for making non-emergency calls to an emergency only number.

    The Cleveland dispatcher in my opinion was callous, and did NOT do a thorough or proper interview with Amanda. She by all means should have stayed on the line until police arrived. Amanda was panicked, frantic, her captor would return before getting the others out. I see it as being the dispatchers JOB and DUTY to have stayed on the line and tried to calm her, reassure her help was enroute, ask her more questions, anything to alleviate her panic. Let’s roll this back and say this happened at the 5 year captive mark, Amanda would have been 19….would the dispatcher have handled it the same, told her to wait on the police to get there and hung up? Poor, poor, poor.

    To the person who asked why must we always blame someone….when we are made aware of a person in a high-profile, high-velocity, high-impact job and they are a civil service type employee….our tax dollars pay their salaries, and if we think they have done a poor job, we have every right to complain, blame, etc.

    • cathy c.

      Did the police arrive immediately after Ms. Berry placed “this call? Were the police dispatched as a result of the 911 operator’s actions? YES to both questions. The police got there immediately and she received the help she needed. Thats really the bottom line. What is also true is that the operator’s tone, nor compassion determined the priority and ultimately the urgency of this call. The operator got that part right. Most people just want an immediate response when they need help. Ms. Berry received that. In a perfect world, everyone would receive a “stepford” operator, but in real life, if there is an emergency, a lot of folks don’t even want to talk or answer questions…they just want the police. I think this operator is being over analyzed. Could this operator have shown more compassion, sure! Did they handle the most important part of this call? Most defintely!

  • Jayron

    I hope they fire the dispatcher.

    • mary

      i agree with you! what would have happened if the kidnapper had come back before the cops? that would have been the fault of the dispatccher not taking the situation seriously!!! i don’t think she believed Amanda!

  • jenn

    Tee said “I don’t care if she was new or not, I am quite positive operators receive training BEFORE being placed on the job. I also would think that as part of the training, the dispatchers are given many different type scenario calls, non-emergency, to highest level emergency. The dispatcher needs admonished, her personnel folder flagged and study up on potential incoming situational calls.”

    Most agencies are low paid and barely trained. So no they don’t always receive training before getting calls. A lot of times they’re trained AS they get calls. I’m not sure how this agencies works, or what their policies are. The dispatcher did an Ok job.. not great, but not horrible. She got the help required and notified most likely the supervisor or sergeant as a heads up. Could she have done a few things better, sure.. but can’t we all do better now and again. These girls are alive and safe thanks to all involved. Enough said!

  • Donna

    911 operators need to realize that their demeanor predicts the callers
    demeanor reguardless of the emergency. Just like say a child/parent. If parent freaks out, the child follows!

  • pam

    i absolutely agree she was rude. i commented just that to my husband while listening to the call. it was so obvious to me that ms. berry wanted to stay on the phone with the dispatcher as a life line until the police arrived. she was desperate and scared and the dispatcher totally ignored it and wanted off the phone. this dispatcher most certainly did not feel the compassion the rest of us did when the poor girl was crying out.

  • http://webpronews cate lynn

    This 911 operator, if you can call her that, needs to be fired. This young girl (Amanda) told her who she was and the operator was so insincere, and did not take her call as priority ONE. The operator said “As soon as we have a free car, we will send someone” this is not verbatim (word for word) but close, and she was very unprofessional. Thank god they were rescued. AND TO CATHY C, YOU ARE SO WRONG. She was very unprofessional and uncaring and if you condone this operator, you are more of moron than she was. My god, get a clue. Keep up with the rest of us if you possibly can.

    • cathy c

      My point reflects the “bottom line”….These young women, victims, received immediate police response. That’s the greatest consideration here. I also stated: “Could this operator have shown more compassion, sure! Did they handle the most important part of this call? Most defintely!” So Cate Lynn you keep up and for the record, if you want to get “knit picky”, God is capitalized to indicate reverence and honor. That’s very important! So in this case you are the moran! Look, out of everything that happened to these women, why is the “judgement and jury” so harsh with the operator? They were rescued. The police responded with an urgency. AGAIN, could the operator have done a “better” job? Yes!!!! Everyone that walks the face of this earth is subject to perform at a higher level. Even YOU!!!! You just remember that on a day you’re not perfect and could be a better mother, friend, neighbor, employee, co-worker, wife, daughter, sister or anything because a “laxidacycle” attitude in any one of those roles could make or break someone’s day. Also, for anybody passing judgement, try to see if you can go,tour and sit in at a 911 center that covers an urban/metropolitan city(not a “one buggy” town). I guarantee your whole perspective would change regarding the job these operators do. It’s not an easy. God bless them all!

  • Avalis

    I work at a 211 line, which isn’t for emergencies but more for social service programs and agencies, and every county in the nation has one with some exceptions. We are trained to speak with “a smile in our voice.” I deliberately make my voice softer and kinder with my callers because I realize they are having difficult circumstances or they wouldn’t be calling us. I try to show empathy. However, when you have 50+ calls per day you meet all kinds of people and at times it’s hard to remain composed and amiable when someone is yelling in your ear or calling you names. If the 911 operator sent the required help to free the women right away, then I feel she did a good enough job. BUT I’m not a 911 operator, so I can’t speak for those that are.

  • George

    Outrageous. When Amanda insists for the last time that she’s been on the news for the last 10 years, the dispatcher says “I got that” and laughs. He obviously didn’t take her seriously. What kind of training do these guys have, anyway?

  • paula

    fire her for being ignorant !!! her attitude sucked !!!” WE WILL SEND A CAR WHEN ITS AVAILABLE ” what a stupid woman, if the shoe was on the other foot she would react different i gurantee you that !

  • paula