Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published August 27, 2014 at 9:43 AM | Page modified August 27, 2014 at 12:58 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments
  • Print

Police: 911 botches call about child locked in car

A 911 dispatcher is in trouble over his response to a mother who called for help after her 10-month-old son accidentally locked himself in her car, police said.


advertising

TAMPA, Fla. —

A 911 dispatcher is in trouble over his response to a mother who called for help after her 10-month-old son accidentally locked himself in her car, police said.

Shana Dees said she put her son Jack in his car seat Saturday afternoon and when she went to move a shopping cart, Jack hit the lock button on the keychain remote, The Tampa Tribune (http://bit.ly/1mR1C8l) reported. She called 911 because it was hot inside the vehicle and said she was shocked by the dispatcher's response.

"We won't be able to try and gain access to the car unless the child is in some kind of distress," Dees said the dispatcher told her. "And by that point, they may just smash your windows."

And then he hung up.

Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said the department's protocol regarding a child locked in a car is to always send an officer and fire rescue to the scene. The dispatcher didn't even ask the location of the vehicle.

"That's not how we do business," McElroy said.

She said disciplinary action could range from a written reprimand to a suspension.

Dees said she was calm while talking to the dispatcher, but after she realized the police weren't coming, panic set in. The boy had crawled out of his car seat and was starting to become lethargic.

"What do you do when you call the cavalry, and then you're told the cavalry is not coming today," she told the newspaper.

An off-duty police officer at the drug store called 911 and spoke to a different dispatcher who sent help.

In the meantime, a nurse grabbed a wrench from the store's utility closet and smashed the window. By then, Jack had been inside the car for 15 minutes. The nurse got the boy out and poured cool water over Jack's head.

Dees said she and her husband thanked the nurse, but they didn't get his name.

"He acted when nobody else did, and we're very grateful he did that," she said.

Jack has rebounded, but he's no longer allowed to play with car keys.

___

Information from: The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune, http://www.tampatrib.com



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►