911 operators receive training since church stabbings

Posted at: 05/14/2013 10:42 PM
Updated at: 05/14/2013 10:46 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The address of your emergency is an important piece of information for 911 operators, but it can get lost during chaotic scenes.

There were a dozen 911 operators and 8 dispatchers working on Sunday, April 28.

They received 11 calls for help from inside St. Jude Thaddeus in Paradise Hills.

"The calmer we get, the calmer the citizen feeds off of our tone," said Erika Wilson, Albuquerque Emergency Communications Center manager.

Wilson says she’s reviewed all of the 911 calls relating to the church stabbing.

"I heard a lot of stressed out callers. They were watching that event actively and I heard our operators doing a really great job re-assuring," she said.

But Wilson admits some calls could have been handled better. Including one where a caller said they didn’t know the address and the dispatcher told them they needed an address to even send an officer out.

“That was disconcerting because we can start officers toward an intersection,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the operators and others have since received extra training.

Wilson adds while cell phone technology can help pinpoint where an emergency is taking place, it is best to know the address or at least the intersections nearby.

"Every incident that we work is an opportunity to learn," she said.

Most of all, she wants her trained listeners to reassure callers that help is on the way.

The city’s 911 center urges callers to ask to speak with a supervisor if they feel they are not given good service. The center said one is always on hand.