Recently, a letter to the editor professed that a family was upset with the “Coeur d’Alene 911 call center.” Which I will assume she was referencing the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Emergency Communications Section.
I would like to address the family’s concerns as to what can only be summarized as grossly misinformed. Upon reading the letter, I asked for and received the information on the situation. All 911 calls into the center are recorded, so getting the facts is relatively easy and generally available as public information.
The concerned grandmother is correct that her granddaughter called in to the center three times on March 21. Each time, she only mentioned that she was concerned for a man who came into the business she was working at and that he looked like he was “distraught” and that he subsequently left the business. She never mentioned to the dispatcher that she could not get him to leave, and by listening to the call, it is apparent that the male left after getting directions. The call was dispatched to the Coeur d’Alene Police Department for a welfare check of the male. She did not request contact from the patrol officers.
The second call from the granddaughter was updating the male’s location, which was still more than a block away from the business, and that the male was sitting on the sidewalk. The dispatcher updated the original call and informed the responding patrol officers.
The third call was also to update the police department of the male’s location and that he was “acting like he was hitchhiking” as she “drove by.” The information was provided to the officers. Again, the granddaughter did not need contact from the officers.
It is unfortunate that disparaging remarks were made about our service, especially since those facts were not correct or warranted. I’ve since left telephone messages with both the grandmother and granddaughter in hopes that I can answer their questions and provide the facts.
The dedicated Emergency Communications Officers of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office are highly trained professionals that hold their core values of Respect, Integrity, and Professionalism in the highest regard. In this situation, they adhered to established training protocols and performed their duties appropriately.
April 8-14, 2018, is National Telecommunicators Week — a week where we recognize, thank and honor our Emergency Communications Officers for their service and dedication to the public’s safety as well as our first responders’ safety; they are truly the behind-the-scenes heroes.
Lt. Stuart Miller of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office is also 911 director.