Authorities in Cleveland have issued a statement in response to criticism of the 911 dispatcher who answered kidnapping victim Amanda Berry's panicked phone call earlier this week.
In a statement released on the Cleveland police department's Facebook page, Martin L. Flask, director of public safety, noted that there were "some concerns" about how the dispatcher handled Berry's call.
The dispatcher's actions are under review, the statement continued:
While the call-taker complied with policies and procedures which enabled a very fast response by police, we have noted some concerns which will be the focus of our review, including the call-taker’s failure to remain on the line with Ms. Berry until police arrived on scene. Please be assured that this matter will be investigated, and if necessary, appropriate corrective action taken.
The dispatcher tells Berry that a police car will be coming as soon as one is available. She advises Berry to stay with the neighbors and repeatedly tells her to "talk to police when they get there."
Berry begs for the police to come quickly, before the man holding her returns to the house, to which the responder replies, "All right; we're sending them, OK?"
The dispatcher goes on to ask for a description of the man but does little in the way of reassuring Berry or attempting to keep her on the line.
"I told you they're on the way," the dispatcher says, before the two hang up.
Criticism of the dispatcher's performance started popping up on Twitter after the audio from the call was released. Some went so far as to call for her firing, according to Twitchy, and one user remarked that the person taking the call showed "the empathy of a brick."
In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Charles Ramsey, the neighbor who helped to save Berry after hearing her screams, was equally critical. He remarked on how the dispatcher did not try to keep Berry on the line.
"How about stay on and I will talk to you until they get there?" Ramsey told Cooper.
Gary Allen, a former dispatcher with 20 years experience told the Daily Beast that he was surprised at how the call-taker didn't attempt to connect with the victim.
“One of the things that jumped out was that after the dispatch took the information, she moved on to the next call. I think that realizing the gravity of the situation, the dispatch might have stayed on the call with that person,” Allen told the news outlet. “You generally want to hold the person on the phone and try to make a personal connection until law enforcement can get there.”