Controversy Over 911 Dispatcher's Response

An Eastern Kentucky murder brings controversy for 911 dispatchers, accused of handling the call for help from the scene, all wrong.

The 911 call was in reference to a fight back in early October. A woman called from an especially violent scene, where weapons were involved, and a man ended up dead.

In the call, you hear a worried woman on one end and a dispatcher on the other, with a completely different tone.

Police charged George Maynard with killing Timothy Ward, by hitting him in the head with a glass bottle. A woman saw the fight break out October 1st, and called 911.

Caller:"134 head of Pickle Fork. They got guns and everything."
911 Dispatcher:"134."
Caller:"Yes, it's an emergency."
Caller:"That guy's going to kill somebody."
Caller:"They got this guy in the ditch and are beating him senseless and threatening to shoot him."

After the woman who called 911 hung up, the dispatcher called in the police, and that's when the controversial part begins.

Deputy:"Hello?"
Dispatcher:"What are you doing?"
Deputy:"Nothing, what's going on?"
Dispatcher:"Not much."

After the two spent seven seconds exchanging greetings, the dispatcher then told the deputy about the urgent call for help.

Dispatcher:"All the woman would say is 134 Pickle Fork.
Deputy:"That could be anywhere."
Dispatcher:"I don't know if she's talking about Pickle Fork in general, or what she's talking about."
Dispatcher:""I don't even know whether, you know, really there'd be much truth to it or not."
Deputy:"Well I'll just go and look and see what I can see. Maybe somebody will flag me down or something."
Dispatcher:"Just drive through and be done with it."

Police never found the scene. Family ended up taking the victim to the hospital on their own several hours later where he went into a coma. He died weeks later.

Paintsville's mayor says the Johnson County City will look into the matter to make sure it never happens again.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Anonymous Location: PENNSYLVANIA on May 3, 2008 at 08:43 AM
    What A joke. I am a dispatcher and these types of stories make me sick. Never assume and when in doubt send them out!
  • by BS Location: CALIF on Dec 7, 2007 at 04:12 PM
    I'm also a dispatcher. This was more than 7 seconds, when you add in the 15-30 seconds it took to dial the phone and wait for the deputy to answer. Then wasting time saying "I don't even know whether, you know, really there'd be much truth to it or not" adds more time. If she had simply done a better job of verifying the address, it could have made a huge difference. The addl time of the "casual" dispath information, instead of using codes, and having the deputy respond while he is given addl information could have possibly added up to almost a full minute.
  • by KARAGAPE on Nov 26, 2007 at 09:43 PM
    Also a 911 dispatcher, I agree with Steve. I also must say that this is why counties need to get away from having roads with similar names. My first thought was that the lady was referring to "the head" of the road.. not that "HEAD OF" would be a road name. Also, people out there reading, If you dial 911 and no one picks up, you need to follow up on that call afterward. If the 911 center did not pick up the line, they to be aware and something should be done to make sure it doesn't happen again. More importantly, there ARE cell phones out there that dial a false 911. The phone rings and rings, but the call is not actually going into a 911 center. BAD. As for the tone of those who are on the Emergency Services end of the line, please remember that in order to see and deal with the things we do with every day and not panic or go into shock, we have to displace it. It is never meant for the public to see, but those actions are normal coping mechanisims.
  • by lindsey on Nov 26, 2007 at 08:09 PM
    OK, they should not have exchanged greetings just like you would in everyday conversation, and then had a doubt that their was any truth to it in the first place. These professionals such as dispatchers and the police are PAID TO PROTECT!!!!!, that was the most unethical and unprofessional thing that they could have said or done.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 26, 2007 at 06:28 PM
    As a professional employee whom was to be provided extensive training in order to help secure the safety of community residents, this matter was in no way handled in a professional manner. . .no wonder citizens from Kentucky are labeled "hillbilly's". Ignorance is bliss.
  • by C Location: Paintsville on Nov 26, 2007 at 06:25 PM
    Johnson County does have enhanced 911 the dispatchers here are just lazy.
  • by Bill on Nov 26, 2007 at 05:09 PM
    Hey Its Eastern Kentucky no body cares about some one getting killed. But if some had said there was beer.or joint there they would smarmed the place. Knock down the door entered with machine guns, and locked up half the holler.WOW some one in this state needs to rethink law enforcement,and what our police are doing.
  • by anybody home Location: Floyd on Nov 26, 2007 at 04:22 PM
    Dont suprise me. A few years ago I tried to call the sheriffs office on 5 different occasions about trespassers and thieves but no one ever came. In one case they said they were busy with a funeral,LOL. This wasnt 911 it was the Sheriffs office. I dont blame it on the deputys I blame it mostly on the person in the office.
  • by Crystal Location: Mt. Sterling on Nov 23, 2007 at 08:47 AM
    As a former 911 dispatcher, I must agree with Steve. No need for me to say anything else. Agree with him 100%.
  • by AC Location: Corbin on Nov 23, 2007 at 06:19 AM
    at least they answered the phone. i called 911 in laurel co. a couple of weeks ago and NO ONE ANSWERED THE PHONE. i figured it was fluke and i'd get a return call in matter of seconds but that didn't happen either.
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