In a case that has finally ended in a satisfactory manner, Las Vegas 911 Dispatcher Gwen Patterson has been fired.
When the 8 News Now team first broke the story of a distraught man who called 911 for help after finding his mother dead, only to have the 911 dispatcher hang up on him, residents in Las Vegas were horrified.
The case made national headlines after the fire department initially did not fire Gwen Patterson for her completely unacceptable behavior.
The caller had just arrived home from work and was in near hysterics when he called for help.
The 911 Dispatcher, now identified as Gwen Patterson, became irritated when the man raised his voice at her. She coldly made inappropriate comments and when he cussed at her, she hung up.
Caller: “Please, she’s purple!”
Patterson: “Ma’am, Ma’am.”
Caller: “I’m a guy!”
Patterson: “Ok, You need to stop. You need to calm down.”
Caller: “My mom’s purple (unintelligible)”
Patterson: “I need a building number.”
Patterson: “Is she breathing at all?”
Caller: “No! She’s Purple!”
Fire Dispatcher: “Ok, you don’t have to holler at me. I didn’t do it.”
Caller: “F-word You Bitch!”
Although Patterson hung up, the caller still received assistance because the original Metro operator who had transferred the call had remained on the line.
Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Chief Willie McDonald had said that the matter would be investigated. Most thought that the end result would be that the uncaring, combative 911 dispatcher would be immediately suspended and terminated.
Instead, she was allowed to keep her job. The Chief said,
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.
Really? clear? Retraining? This is not a case of a store clerk that became irritated because a demanding customer cussed at him and the clerk then refused to further assist the customer.
This is a situation in which a person is employed in a position that deals with life and death situations on a daily basis. The situations are oftentimes stressful and 911 dispatchers are trained to remain, calm, cool, collected and non-combative.
How much more clearer does it need to be?
The story should have ended months ago. Why wasn’t Gwen Patterson suspended and fired immediately after she hung up on a caller?
The fire department says that they are “done with this story.”