Volusia Sheriff Apologizes After 911 Dispatcher Hangs Up on Teenager

A mistake by a Volusia County dispatcher prompted an apology from the sheriff himself.
A 13-year-old girl, who was home alone Thursday, called 911 and said she believed someone was trying to break into her home.
“Did you hear knocking or just the door knob itself,” the dispatcher asked the girl during the call.
“I heard someone, it was like shaking,” the girl said.
The girl spoke with the dispatcher for about four minutes, but then the dispatcher ended the conversation before deputies arrived.
“You going to stay in your room?” the dispatcher asked the girl.
“Yeah,” she responded.
“I don’t need to keep you on the phone the whole time because it will take the units a couple minutes to get there,” the dispatcher said before hanging up.
Sheriff’s officials said the dispatcher was a sheriff’s deputy filling in as a 911 operator. They said he had been trained and was certified to do the job.
Officials said the deputy has been reprimanded for getting off the phone with the terrified girl too soon.
“The call-taker should have stayed on the phone with her and kept her on the line until deputies arrived,” said Gary Davidson of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
When deputies arrived they found no suspects or any signs that someone was trying to break in. But the girl’s parents made a complaint, which has prompted the Sheriff’s Office to review call handling procedures at its dispatch center.
Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson apologized to the family, according to officials with the Sheriff’s Office.
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