Collecting 911 Witness Information

By: Meghan Dwyer
By: Meghan Dwyer

When 23 News got recordings of the 911 calls made the night of the shooting at the BP on Auburn we were surprised when some callers weren't even asked for their names.

Nine calls were made around 8:00 the night of the BP Gas Station shooting and when dispatchers answered two of the calls they didn't ask for any information.

The 911 Center says by the time it got that call police and ambulances were already at the scene.

To keep up with lines that were ringing off the hook they had to move on to other calls. In the best case scenario only five dispatchers are there to answer thirteen 911 lines.

911 Training Supervisor Leigh Sterrenberg said, "We try to find out as much as we can however the priority's for us to get are who what when and where. if we can get that and was have so many 911 lines ringing, we want to try to get to those as soon as possible."

The good news is that if police want to talk to that caller they can almost always can get the caller's phone number and call them later during the investigation. That number is automatically recorded even if the person doesn't give it to the dispatcher.

So what do police say? Do they wish the dispatchers got more information from callers?

They say they want as much information as possible, but they say they realize the 911 dispatchers can't do police work over the phone. Police have requested those 911 calls so they can follow up with the witnesses nobody is in custody.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by "can you hold" Location: Rockford on Jun 9, 2012 at 06:57 AM
    At one point I felt it neccessary to contact the police because I was concered there may have been a home invasion to my neighbors house. The very first thing the dispatcher said to me was, "can you hold" and immediately put the phone down. I understand that with the crime rate in Rockford it's hard to keep up with all of the incoming phone calls; but to not even address the reason for my call and just put the receiver down is astonishing. My thoughts would be train some VOLUNTEERS on how to do their job and get more people in there to answer calls, if they can't afford to hire more i'm sure there would be plenty of people who would be interested in sparing some of their time. Lets get it right, Rockford!
  • by Rockfordian Location: Rockford on Jun 8, 2012 at 09:52 AM
    Only three incoming 911 lines for cellphones and ten incoming 911 lines only for land lines? You've got to be kidding me. Can't anyone design a better telephone system around here?
  • by security officer Location: rockford on Jun 8, 2012 at 06:14 AM
    the 911 call center needs to be retrained and needs to be written up by their commanding officers for not following through on a call i know i would be wrote up for not following through and keeping proceedure you have to get all the 411 you can to help out in any situation to help out the police dept and the dist atty to proscute these criminals and bring them to justice.
  • by nana031955 Location: Rockford on Jun 7, 2012 at 07:36 PM
    Imagine that! 911 didn't help me neither! I called 911 when I had a home invasion at 12:41 AM laid my phone on my desk. They heard the man say I'll shoot you B and still didn't dispatch the police until 12:54 ! What's up with that. We have to pay for 911 on our phone bills and they do nothing. I think they should have to go through a lot more training so they know what their doing. It could mean life or death in some cases!
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