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911 tweets prompt MetroSafe questions

by Joe Arnold

WHAS11.com

Posted on January 4, 2010 at 6:22 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 4 at 6:26 PM

Poll:
Should the 911 operator get in trouble for making fun of callers on Twitter?

MetroSafe officials are looking into the Internet activity of its 911 operators tonight after WHAS11 started asking questions about the Twitter account of one of the Metrosafe employees.

It appears a late watch operator set up a Twitter account called "Funny911calls," but Metrosafe is not laughing.

The account describes 9-1-1 calls as they come in, with information and often scathing commentary.

MetroSafe says the use of cell phones or PDA's, and logging on to social networking sites while at work is not allowed.

The Twitter account profile describes a 911 operator in Louisville "that has found out common sense isn't very common."
 
Her bosses just might agree with her after reading her tweets.

"Stupid people make me mad," fumes one tweet on December 8.

Two days earlier, the tweet says, "I hate people that don't know their address. Their excuse is 'they just moved'. What a waste of human life."

Another tweet says:  "Stupid woman had car accident a MONTH ago and now its an emergency and she is SOA (short of air). Ugh. fire and ems going code 3 to this idiot."

"I think initially when you called me, I said now who could be that stupid?" said Doug Hamilton, MetroSafe Executive Director, "Unfortunately it appears to be one of our late watch employees."

The Twitter account pokes fun at others who may be in crisis situations.

A post one month ago:

"Girl just called wants to know how to get a 'straining' order. When u find out call me back to let me know what that is, thanks."

On December 5, "Just read a run someone put up that 'the woman at location is armed with a golf club and an ice hook.'. Awesome."

"Your primary mission is answering 911 calls," responded Hamilton, "It is not entertaining your friends, family and fellow tweeters."

The Twitter feed included personal photos and a picture taken inside  MetroSafe - at one of the work stations where - presumably calls like this were taken on November 30 -- "Just had a lady catch her breast on fire as she was blowing a candle out.  There's a first."

On December 21:

"Guy wanted to know if he had a warrant. told him I can't give him the info over the phone but officers can come tell him.... Sucka!!!"

And one minute later...

"Love it when they fall for that."

"We are following up specifically to find out when the tweets may have been made, and what other information we can get that could be a violation of our policy to see if it in fact warrants us to open an investigation on them," Hamilton added.

911 calls are public records, so Hamilton says there is no expectation of privacy.

However, Metrosafe is looking into whether any personal information was released and whether the late watch 911 operator was tweeting while on the job.

Our check of time stamps of the tweets indicates she was.

Since we started asking questions, the "funny911calls" account no longer exists on Twitter.

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