Dispatcher ignores hit-and-run call

Wednesday, April 23rd 2008, 6:28 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

A metro woman is not pleased with a 911 dispatcher after she claims she called for help, and no one came.

"It was really, really frustrating," Ginger Kennell said. "I'm sure that's very reassuring to criminals you know. ‘Oh, okay, we can get away with stuff and they won't send the police'."

Kennell was stopped at Portland Ave. and Memorial Road when she witnessed a hit and run crash. She said the driver smashed into a woman's car, then made an illegal U-turn, headed the wrong way on a one-way street and ran a red light.

"I did what I would want someone else to do for me," Kennell said.

She followed the car and called 911.

After Kennell explained that she just witnessed a hit and run, the dispatcher told her there were no accidents reported in the area and no one else had called about the incident.

Kennell, who continued following the driver, grew more agitated after the dispatcher failed to send help.

The conversation with the Oklahoma City Police Department employee lasted almost six minutes and eventually, Kennell hung up.

After listening to the call, police admit the dispatcher made a mistake.

"The dispatcher should have sent a car," OKCPD Sgt. Paco Balderrama said. "Anytime that you have a witness following a car that potentially committed a crime, then an officer needs to be there to investigate."

"Hopefully she'll learn that if people call for help, it's a good idea to send an officer, just to be safe," Kennell said.

Investigators are still looking for the vehicle and the driver. Kennell said it's a black Honda Passport, with no license plate.

Police said there have been similar issues in the past with the dispatcher, but also cited that dispatchers have made a mistake in less than 30 out of 860,000 calls to 911 in the past year.