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Posted: 12/4/2002 3:52:37 PM EDT
[url]http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2002/12/03/state1703EST0098.DTL[/url]
(12-03) 14:03 PST PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- A Police Department operator is facing disciplinary action for allegedly failing to help a panicked caller who thought she was being threatened by a man with a gun in a road rage incident. Margie Strike said she was driving north Nov. 21 on Interstate 5 when she was threatened by a man in another vehicle. She failed in 911 emergency call attempts from her cellular telephone so she called police, Cmdr. Chris Vicino said Monday. Strike said the police operator didn't listen to her and was rude, the commander said. Vicino wouldn't identify the operator because it was a personnel matter. But the transcript of the call was made available. "Ma'am, you have the wrong number, ma'am, how did you get this number?" the operator asked before Strike could fully explain her situation. "Because nobody's answering at 911!' Strike said. "OK, this is the wrong number you've dialed. This is the Pasadena Police Department," the operator said. "OK, well there's a man on the Pasadena Freeway with a gun and he's trying to run me off the road," Strike said. "We don't service any of the Pasadena Freeway, that's handled by the (California) Highway Patrol," the operator said. "OK, well before he kills somebody, can somebody connect me with the Highway Patrol?' Strike asked. The operator could have connected Strike with the CHP but didn't, Vicino said. Instead, she said: "I can give you the direct number there." "You know what? This is ... ridiculous,' Strike said frantically to the operator. "There's a crazy man out there who has a gun, he was trying to run me off the road and you people, nobody is answering 911 and you want to give me a number?" Police Chief Bernard Melekian said he was angry and disappointed by the operator's conduct, adding, "This will be dealt with appropriately." "There were many things we could've done to provide her with some assistance, or at least reassurance, while we connected her with the appropriate agencies, and we didn't do that," Melekian said.
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