Welcome to another episode of Within the Trenches. It has been almost a month since I posted the last episode but I’m back and ready to go with a long list of guests. Today’s episode will feature 911 news stories along with some tapes and a written guest blog. I’m joined today by show regular Rob “Big Mac” McMullen, Director of Vigo County 911 and 2nd VP of NENA. He’s joined by episode 94 guest Jordon, dispatcher with Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority and new to the admin team of the Facebook Fan Page.
Get ready to laugh, learn and if you would like to read and comment on Kelli’s guest blog post entitled, “I was there” please click the link below. Also, there are only a few days left on the “Dispatch Love” t-shirt campaign so get yours while you can. Once it’s over that’s it! This is a limited edition t-shirt that cannot be found in stores.
Episode topics –
- Recap with Jordon on episode 94
- How would you dispatch that medical? (911 tape)
- The skunk is guilty! (911 tape)
- Dispatch hangup (911 tape)
- Kelli’s “I was there” guest blog
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By Ricardo — 7 years ago
Day in and day out we see news stories that reveal the inner workings of local government, small business owners, 9-1-1 calls, etc. The information given on news broadcasts can raise an eyebrow as to how it was obtained. So how do they get their information and are you, the general public, able to do the same? In most cases, the journalist working on the story has put in a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This is something that anyone can do. According to foia.gov,
“Enacted in 1966, and taking effect on July 5, 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that any person has a right, enforceable in court, to obtain access to federal agency records, except to the extent that such records (or portions of them) are protected from public disclosure by one of nine exemptions or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions.”
How does this work for 9-1-1?
Speaking with a Training Coordinator and 13 year 9-1-1 operator of a local dispatch center, she states that, “FOIA’s are the requests that dispatch can receive in writing from a person or attorney (in reference to) a case that was handled.” She goes on to say that 9-1-1 calls are involved in the process because the dispatch center answers the 9-1-1 or general calls that come into dispatch. Since 9-1-1 centers fall under local government they fit right into the Freedom of Information Act.
The FOIA process has been used many times to acquire calls and transcripts to make the public aware of incidents going on around them. For example, Charlie Butts of OneNewsNow.com reported on, “a pro-life activist group (that) confirmed a 17th medical emergency in less than a year at a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic.” This incident occurred in Indianapolis and Butts spoke to Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger, who told him that her organization was able to obtain transcripts of the 9-1-1 call through the Freedom of Information Act.
Butts of OneNewsNow.com reported on Sullenger as saying that, “Apparently in this particular abortion, a woman was involved in a second-trimester abortion in her 14th week of pregnancy,” she details. “And for some reason, the abortionist could not finish the procedure. She had to stop in the middle and call for help.” OneNewsNow.com reported further on what was revealed through the transcripts and 9-1-1 recording by quoting Sullenger as saying, “It appears that the caller, the employee at Planned Parenthood who called 9-1-1, was extremely evasive, did not want to give information,” Sullenger reports. “The dispatcher had to ask four different times what was wrong with the woman and why she needed an ambulance. — this actually delays emergency care, and the emergency responders cannot be prepared for what they’re going to find there.”
Can anything be obtained from a FOIA request?
In the example above, the person who submitted the FOIA request was able to get everything she needed, but not everything can be revealed through a FOIA request. Some items can be redacted from the file. A quick definition from Merriam-Webster defines redact as, “to obscure or remove (text) from a document prior to publication or release.” The training coordinator says that, “items that can be redacted are the callers name, information, and Lein.” Lein in this statement refers to the callers name, address, and warrant check, license check, etc. “If a case is still open or pending investigation,“ says the training coordinator, “it is not FOIA’able until that case is closed by the agency.”
Being able to FOIA a record has done more than just release 9-1-1 calls. Below is an infographic on what being able to FOIA a record has done for us in the 46 years of its existence. For more information on 9-1-1 recordings, public records and the FOIA process for your state; you can go to the First Amendment Center. The site is a “compilation of state statutes and bills concerning public release of 911 emergency telephone recordings and transcripts.” If there is nothing listed for your state, you can also check out FOIA Advocates. This site can direct you to the public record laws of each state.Post Views: 511
By Ricardo — 7 years ago
Good morning everyone! I hope you are having an excellent Sunday morning. I’m writing to announce that Jabber Log and Threadsy have joined forces to spread the word on not only the Within the Trenches podcast but the great work that Threadsy is doing. Now, if you are unsure what Within the Trenches is then here is the quick and easy explanation. It’s a podcast based on the experience of being a 9-1-1 dispatcher. The show is taking off and we were trying to hit 500 ‘Likes’ on the Facebook fanpage in order to do a t-shirt giveaway. Thanks to Diary of a Mad Dispatcher, Through the Eyes of a 9-1-1 Dispatcher, Emergency Response for Dummies, The Cool Kids of 9-1-1 and more, for helping us hit our mark!
With that said, the giveaway has begun! Threadsy a t-shirt company with a mission to help those in need have teamed up with Jabber Log for this giveaway. According to their official website, “we make lifestyle products that help fund charity projects across the world. We sell each tee for 7 days and give $7 of every product sold directly to that week’s charity.” Right now Threadsy is running a campaign for the No Kid Hungry movement. It’s an excellent campaign they are working on and they do all the custom design work in-house. “One week. One cause.” That’s how they do it and although this giveaway is not for a specific charity it’s to help promote Within the Trenches and feature the first “first responders.” They are the people who help you in your time of need and sometimes over a 16 hour shift. They take horrific calls and rarely get any recognition. Well it’s time to change that and with this podcast I intend on telling their stories.
A big thanks goes out to Seth Manthei, CEO of Threadsy for the help on this giveaway. It means a lot and to anyone who is reading this, please go to their website and check out the great things they are doing. You won’t be sorry and it’s for a great cause!
Now for the giveaway. There are three things that must be done in order to qualify. The giveaway will last from January 26th – February 2nd (midnight). Three official Within the Trenches t-shirts are up for grabs and this is one of two giveaways. If we happen to reach 1,000 ‘Likes’ then we will do another round of t-shirts and coffee mugs.
Step 1 – Like Jabber Log on Facebook
Step 2 – Like Threadsy Tee on Facebook (tell them Jabber Log sent you)
Step 3 – Listen to the first episode of Within the Trenches and message me on the Jabber Log Facebook Fanpage (not on wall) and tell me what I told the Chief of Police when he asked if I had any skeletons in my closet. It’s right in the beginning and funny. It’ll be worth it! Once you get the answer, message me with it and as long as you’ve done the first two you are qualified. Remember, DO NOT POST THE ANSWER ON THE WALL.
Let’s have fun with this and make sure to share this with all you know!Post Views: 537
By Ricardo — 2 years agoImagine a bright sunny day on the farm while your son plays outside. You are on your tractor and realize you don’t see your son anymore. Panic sets in…Now imagine your 9-1-1 taking the call of a frantic father who has run over his child. The pain in his voice is haunting…This is what it’s like, within the trenches.In this episode, you will hear stories from the IAM911 movement, a movement I started to fight the reclassification of dispatchers from clerical to protective and bring awareness to the types of calls that 9-1-1 dispatchers answer on a daily basis. This episode is the last one for 2017 and it ends with an announcement that I have been teasing for weeks.Now…you heard the warning at the beginning but I must warn you again and add that if you suffer from PTSD or have suicidal tendencies you are listening at your own risk. The stories you are about to hear are all true and come from the dispatchers who lived them.While some stories have a good outcome, the majority are horrifying. This is our reality. Your worst day is our every day.So let’s start with a bang.I want you to imagine each story. Become the dispatcher who has taken each call and imagine listening…Post Views: 375