NEW TAMPA, Fla. (CBS Tampa) — A 911 operator is being investigated after he was accused of refusing to send first responders to a CVS parking lot after a 10-month-old baby was locked inside a hot car.
Shana Dees tells WFTS-TV that her son Jack locked himself in the car in his car seat last Saturday while she was putting away a shopping cart.
“Those three seconds, when I was moving the cart, he hit the lock button,” she told WFTS.
Temperatures were pushing triple digits that day in New Tampa. Dees’ cellphone and purse were also locked in the car so she asked a good Samaritan to borrow his phone. She then dialed 911.
“My infant son is locked in the car in the parking lot,” Dees told the dispatcher in an audio recording obtained by WFTS. “It is so hot outside. I’m really concerned, like I don’t tink I have time to call Triple-A before he would suffer heat exhaustion. Can somebody come out and open the door? I don’t even know if that is something you guys do.”
The dispatcher responded, “They won’t be able to try to gain access unless the child is in some kind of distress and, well, by that point they may just smash your windows.” The dispatcher then hung up the phone.
An off-duty officer called 911 eight minutes later after walking out of the CVS. The dispatcher he spoke to sent first responders immediately.
But before police and fire officials could get there, another CVS shopper broke the passenger side window with a wrench to help free the boy, according to WFTS.
“I would like to say thank you to them, to the man who let me use his phone, to the officer that was able to get the police out there,” Dees told WFTS. “Those were the first responders.”
Laura McElroy, a spokeswoman for the Tampa Police Department said the dispatcher “absolutely made a mistake.”
“The dispatcher should’ve kept the mother on the line, should’ve found out where she was and then immediately dispatched both a police officer and fire rescue,” McElroy told WFTS.
The 911 dispatcher will most likely face some sort of disciplinary action.
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