911 report brings policy changes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

911 report brings policy changes

August 14, 2002

An internal investigation reports the Albany 911 Emergency Call Center did not respond properly to reports of a car crash June 25th that killed two people. People who reported problems in calling 911 about this wreck, led to the policy changes.

The head on crash June 25th on the Moultrie Road disturbed Doug and Tracey Dent, and they did something about it. Their call to 911 was one of the first to report the wreck, that killed two women. The Dents thought it took too long for the ambulance to arrive, and they wanted answers.

Today the department's official inquiry said the Dents were correct, and changes are being made. Tracey Dent said " I'm glad to know that something was done. That they did investigate it and something was done about it." There was nearly a five minute delay from the Dents' 911 call, and the dispatching of the ambulance. The department inquiry says two telecommunicator's, Phyllis Crawford and Angela Bowens, did not dispatch ambulances to the scene properly. Both women have resigned their jobs.

City of Albany Public Information Manager Kevin Hogencamp said "When it comes down to it, we could have done better. And we're gonna take some steps to make sure that this isn't repeated."

Now the 911 center is making these changes. EMS and fire trucks will be dispatched immediately to all head-on collisions. 911 operators will ask questions to determine if wrecks are head-on collisions. The inquiry says calls on June 25th were delayed by heavy call loads on the 911 staff because of a heavy rainstorm. Policy will now have management more involved during staff-challenging times. Policy is being revised to make sure EMS has been dispatched when Police are notified of a crash.

Hogencamp said "We are going to continue to do everything we can to make sure that we respond as quickly as possible, and as adequately as possible."

The inquiry thanks the Dents for their citizen involvement, demanding answers in this 911 response. Tracey said she hopes the changes help. "Oh yes, I think it will."

Seventy-eight-year-old Esten Phelps and 23-year-old Darice Wheeler were killed in that car crash.