AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – Akron police say new technology enabled a 911 dispatcher to help save a man’s life after the victim was shot by an intruder who broke into his house.
Upon hearing a frightened woman only whisper the word “help” and then hang up early Thursday morning, the instincts of the dispatcher told him that he needed to act quickly.
“You don’t know the circumstances why someone can’t talk to us on the phone. In this situation, she was in an upstairs bedroom, didn’t know if the shooter was still in the house, can’t communicate, so we need to make sure we do the follow up to get emergency help to them if that’s the need,” said APD Captain David Laughlin.
The dispatcher used a computer program called “Rapid SOS” to identify the general area where the call came from.
He then used new technology called “Prepared Live” that allowed him to send a text directly to the caller’s phone.
“The text read, ‘this is Akron, we got a 911 call, is everything okay?’ And then she literally responds back with ‘help’ and the address,” said Captain Laughlin.
Officers quickly arrived at the scene in South Akron, found the 26-year-old shooting victim and got him the help he needed.
“You know, it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it right now that it worked that well, that officers were on the way, got there, rendered aid to this young man who had been shot. I mean, everybody did spectacular work from the communications center to the police, our EMS personnel,” said Captain Laughlin.
Those who believe in the breakthrough technology say historically officers would have had no choice but to drive around the neighborhood and hope that they could find the victim or that they would be flagged down by a witness.
They point to the shooting on Thursday morning, as an example of how effective the Rapid SOS and Prepared Live programs can be, when used by a dispatcher who understands their capabilities.
“Technology is a great thing if it helps us,” said Captain Laughlin. “In this case, it did help to save this young man’s life, I think.”