911 dispatchers trained to pick up on peculiarities

News

UTICA, NY (WUTR-TV) — Could ordering a pizza alert 911 dispatchers of an emergency?

‘Yes,’ says Oneida County Emergency Services Director Kevin Revere.

“We are familiar with that, it’s kind of a basic training tool that’s been used in the past…’ ‘…or pretending that you’re talking to somebody else on the telephone,” Revere said.

At the end of November, social media was abuzz after an Ohio woman called 911, and ordered a pizza–doing so to report a domestic situation at home.

If coded calls exist, why not let the public know of them? Revere says it’s so the ‘bad guys’ aren’t aware of the beneficial tactics.

Emergency managers in Oneida and Herkimer Counties both say dispatchers are trained to recognize when something may be wrong, if the message is not directly shared.

“If somebody is saying something that doesn’t seem quite right to us, we’re going to ask ‘are you able to speak freely? Yes or no?’ If they say ‘no,’ then we will start asking more yes or no questions,” says Herkimer County Director of Emergency Services Director John Raymond.

Raymond says dispatchers’ abilities were an asset during a police stand off in the Town of Poland on Dec. 6.

“That started off as a 911 hang up call. So, anytime we get a call like that, and something doesn’t seem right, we’re going to be sending the police to check on them,” Raymond said.

Otsego and Oneida counties have the ability to receive text messages if phone users text 911.

Herkimer County does not, but Raymond says he’s “hoping for some additional funding so that we can upgrade some of the internal stuff inside the 911 center to accept text messaging, so i would say we’re at least a year out.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.