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Montgomery Co. Police Investigate 911 Dispatcher Asleep & Snoring During An Emergency

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Mary Bubala joined WJZ in December 2003. She now anchors the 4-4:30...
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ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJZ)– A Montgomery County 911 dispatcher is off the job after falling asleep on the job. It happened in April but the tapes are just being released as the investigation continues.

Mary Bubala has the story.

911 Caller: “Could you send an ambulance right now?”
911 Dispatcher: [Snoring].

The 911 call came from a woman in a Rockville condo. Her husband was having trouble breathing and he was turning blue. The call taker transferred her to a dispatcher but quickly realized something wasn’t right.

911 Call Taker: “OK, hold on one second, ma’am. Let me try and get them on the line again.”
911 Caller: “OK. Oh. “
911 Dispatcher: [Snoring].

Montgomery County Assistant Fire Chief Scott Graham says the sleeping dispatcher was 17 hours into a 24-hour shift.

“The employee was immediately taken from the floor and placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the inquiry,” said Graham.

After the caller had been on the line for more than four minutes, the sleeping dispatcher finally wakes up and takes over the call.

911 Caller: “He stopped breathing for, for a little while. And now I push his… I just push his hand…”
911 Dispatcher: “Ok. The address?
911 Caller: “His chest.”
911 Dispatcher: “What’s the address?”
911 Caller: [Crying].
911 Dispatcher: “Ma’am, what’s the address?”

An ambulance was finally sent to the woman’s condo and her husband was taken to the hospital and expected to recover. The 24-hour 911 shifts are now under scrutiny after the dispatcher fell asleep.

Police have not released the dispatcher’s name pending the outcome of the investigation.

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