A 911 dispatcher in Tampa, Florida faces disciplinary action after failing to help a frantic mother of a 10-month-old baby who locked himself in the car on Saturday, WFTS-TV reports.
After leaving a CVS, Shana Dees placed her son Jack inside his car seat and shut the door and returned the shopping cart. In that short time, Jack — who had the keys to play with — locked the not-yet-running car, which also held Dees’ purse and phone.
Luckily, Dees found a stranger in the parking lot who let her borrow a phone to call 911, but the dispatcher wasn’t very helpful, according to ABC News, which obtained the recording:
Dees: “My infant son is locked in the car in the parking lot. It is so hot outside. I’m really concerned, like I don’t think I have time to call AAA before he would suffer heat exhaustion. Can somebody come out and open the door? I don’t even know if that is something you guys do.”
Dispatcher: “They won’t be able to try to gain access [to the] car unless the child is in some kind of distress, and, well, by that point they may just smash your windows.”
It’s late summer, and in Tampa, the average afternoon temperature around this time hovers in the high 80s/low 90s. Of course, that rises considerably in a car that isn’t running and has no windows down.
Roughly eight minutes after the call ended, an off-duty police officer took notice and called 911, getting a different operator who immediately asked where they were. However, another CVS shopper broke the passenger side window with a wrench before police arrived, WFTS reported.
While conceding to ABC News that the dispatcher should have “been more aggressive and asked for location,” a Tampa Police spokesperson said he did not refuse to send an officer and it was Dees who ended the call. The spokesperson said the dispatcher would be disciplined for the incident.
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