An emergency dispatcher in DeKalb, GA is under fire following a 911 call from a good Samaritan that had just witnessed a man rip a woman from her car and take off. In the call, the dispatcher proceeded to argue with the man over whether what he'd just witnessed was a carjacking (a type of robbery involving a weapon) or a theft (the lack of a weapon).

By the book, the lack of a weapon indicates that this is a non-violent crime. Despite this technicality, though, the difference between a robbery (which by definition involves a violent aspect) and carjacking is much thinner than the difference between a robbery and a theft (which doesn't involve violence). That makes the police response, or lack thereof, somewhat alarming.

According to the witness, Willie Hubbard, there was roughly a 38-minute wait for the police to arrive, because of how the dispatcher relayed information to the officers.

"So we sat there approximately 38 minutes before the first officer even came. And then when the sergeant came she was explaining to us that it was called to them as a theft not a robbery. And I was like, 'That's crazy,'" Hubbard told WAGA, the local Fox affiliate.

James Conroy, the interim police chief, acknowledged that there was a mistake made somewhere.

"Looking at the call information, it does appear there was a delayed response of somewhere over 30 minutes, which in my opinion is not acceptable in a carjacking case," Conroy told Fox 5. The situation is being investigated by internal affairs.

Scroll down for the news report on the incident from Fox 5.


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  • 30 Comments
      NY EVO X MR GUY
      • 6 Months Ago
      This was handled all wrong. The person was lucky that the person didnt have a weapon in her car and blast the crap out of him. You do not need a weapon to carjack someone. If you are in a vehicle and someone forcefully takes you out of it against your will, it IS A CARJACKING.
      Radwon
      • 6 Months Ago
      I experienced something like this when I was in Wilmington Delaware. I saw a police officer chasing a scumbag out the front door of a 7-11, both with guns in their hands. Concerned for the officer and the people inside the store, I called 911 to report it. The 911 operator argued with me whether it was a robbery or armed robbery so I slowly re-described what I saw and that I did not observe any robbery just the cop chasing the criminal out of the store but she kept interrupting me while I was describing it. She then transferred me to the Police Dept who then left me on hold until I hung up. I get the feeling these operators are more concerned with what to mark the incident as rather than the incident itself.
        OnTheRocks
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Radwon
        This is what happens when you've relegated common sense to the back burner for the sake of protocol.
      bofdem
      • 6 Months Ago
      This is the same area which arrested a man for trickle-charging his Nissan Leaf while his daughter was at tennis practice.
      dea5787
      • 6 Months Ago
      Sounds like the call taker thought the two incidents were one and the same and didn't treat them as separate calls. To make matters worse, she didn't upgrade the priority of the first call. She should have asked the caller for additional information in order to discern that there indeed were two different incidents that occurred. Sounds like this PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) doesn't use a set of scripts when interrogating callers. That opens up sooo much room for error and for things to be missed or misunerstood. I used to supervise a 911 center for 8 years...we had hundreds of MANDATORY scripts (all accessible to the call taker via a computer system using quick keywords ) between the Fire and EMS agencies we dispatched in order to accurately capture and relay information to the responding crews, preventing a situation such as this. These systems should be used everywhere but an overwhelming majority of 911 centers don't do it.
        Richard Nygaard
        • 6 Months Ago
        @dea5787
        @dea great points. So true about the scripts even a great dispatcher (and I thought I was one) can get confused and frazzled a but when it comes to getting all the info you need and just as importantly in the correct order so that the officers on the way can have the best picture of what they will be walking into.
      11fiveoh
      • 6 Months Ago
      lock your doors! Hide your wife
      Papi L-Gee
      • 6 Months Ago
      This isn't the first time I've heard of dispatchers trying to do a CSI over the phone. Sadly, it probably won't be the last.
      OnTheRocks
      • 6 Months Ago
      They used to get this thing so right in the old cop shows. Someone would call 911, the dispatcher would get on the radio and say "All units, all units, we have reports of a man dragging a woman out of a vehicle and driving off. Anyone near [x] and [y], please respond". Then T.J. Hooker would get on the mic and be all "Kirk here, we're on our way!". *cue music* Bam. Simple.
        Richard Nygaard
        • 6 Months Ago
        @OnTheRocks
        @OnTheRocks, so true. As a former police officer and dispatcher I can see both sides but this dispatcher is a typical bad one. Probably trying to get on the road and out of the dispatcher chair. They have read just enough of the criminal code to make them selves feel all knowing, when really they know just enough to make them dangerous. Just put the call out like you got it. Most departments have cheat sheets so you even know what to ask. The dispatchers job is not to investigate the crime and classify it. It was a robbery that was also a car jacking. Not every robbery is a car jacking but every car jacking is a robbery weather they have a weapon or not. You could walk up to the drivers door and say please step out of the car I'm going to be taking it from you. Driver gets out you get in and drive off. Felony robbery/car jacking right there.
      OptimusPrimeRib
      • 6 Months Ago
      Getup get get get get down, 911 is joking your town.
      ffelix422
      • 6 Months Ago
      What did the 911 Operator loose by sending a cop to the scene? Nothing! They should always error on the side of the caller. And yes it didn't help that the caller was inarticulate and seemed confused.
      IBx27
      • 6 Months Ago
      Remember kids, when seconds count, 911 is a half hour away. Use your second amendment rights and take out the trash.
        Dmitriy Markelov
        • 6 Months Ago
        @IBx27
        "This just in...a man, his wife and two children are dead because he decided to confront a crazy drug addict with a gun rather than give up his car".
          Ducman69
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Dmitriy Markelov
          "This just in.... a poor excuse for a man abandoned his wife and two children in a car jacking to a crazy drug addict, and is waiting 45 mins for police to arrive, because he didn't take responsibility for protecting his loved ones. Hopefully they won't be raped excessively, before the crazy drug addict dumps their bodies".
          Hek!
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Dmitriy Markelov
          Yea, let's just give in to criminals. There's no point in defending yourself or your family. We should all just bow down and die for them because who knows, we might get hurt if we don't.
          Richard Nygaard
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Dmitriy Markelov
          Dmitriy, you have that wrong. Even in the situation you describe they would not be dead because of the fathers actions. It would be because the drug crazed lunatic decided to rob them. That is also how any judge should find it too. The robber would be charged with the deaths of the children and wife because HE decided to rob them. Everything that happens after the robbery attempt begins falls on the criminals shoulders.
      Ducman69
      • 6 Months Ago
      In Texas if someone violently rips you out of your car for a carjacking, its the same as being ripped out of your home, allowed to defend yourself with deadly force (as it should be). Or just hope all they do is take your car, that you don't have a kid strapped in in the back seat, and then wait for police officers to arrive 45mins later to give you hot cocoa and a blanket and tell you everything is OK.
        johnnythemoney
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Ducman69
        "as it should be" Because it's much safer when you can use a gun with even less training than the average officer, confronting a man who could snap any moment, while said kid is strapped in the back seat.
          IBx27
          • 6 Months Ago
          @johnnythemoney
          Less training than the average officer? The average officer has never used or practiced with a firearm in their life. Here in Texas, and in most places outside the hyperliberal wasteland known as the northeast and pacific megalopolis, we're raised around firearms and we know the first, second, and every following rule is about safety. We practice these situations, we take classes that tell us how to properly respond, and I can guarantee you the 'wild west' scenario will never happen, partly because the 'wild west' is a fictional creation of hollywood.
          Ducman69
          • 6 Months Ago
          @johnnythemoney
          Most cops don't fire more than the 1-2 times a year they are required for their proficiency test, and you can't get a CHL without also completing a proficiency test (and again each renewal). I doubt there are many police officers that have a range subscription like I do and go at least bi-weekly. ;) Regarding "confronting a man who could snap any moment", I'm not confronting anyone. In a car jacking, you're minding your own business in your car when YOU are confronted. Liberals sometimes forget that criminals aren't the victim.
      TruthHertz
      • 6 Months Ago
      It's so funny when the liberal idiots below bag on people for saying they wish they had a weapon to defend themselves in a similar situation. They are so dumb or have memory that is so short term that they forget that it took an actual cop almost 40 minutes to arrive. Go ahead and wait for the cop to write a police report for YOU the victim. I'll wait for the coroner to come take out the trash. BTW, I'm in Texas where it is 100% legal to use deadly force to prevent a felony.
        OptimusPrimeRib
        • 6 Months Ago
        @TruthHertz
        It's so funny when Tea Bagger types like you think a gun is the way to solve a problem. You're always quick to want to kill someone. Yes she had her car stolen and it was a terrible incident but no one died. I don't understand why some people are so eager to end someone's life. People like you disgust me and think a replaceable item is more valuable than an irreplaceable life.
          Richard Nygaard
          • 6 Months Ago
          @OptimusPrimeRib
          Prime Rib, situations like this are so fluid. Things can go from bad to worse than worse pretty quick. The question you have to ask yourself at what point are you 100% sure the guy means you no harm he just wants to take your vehicle by force.
          John
          • 6 Months Ago
          @OptimusPrimeRib
          No sane person wants to kill someone, but the necessity may arise at some point for some people. And the mere presence of a weapon may achieve the desired result (i.e. bad guy moves on to an easier target) without being used. And how many of the women who have been carjacked with a small child in their car wished they had had that option? And it's hard to feel sorry for the bad guy who put himself in the situation in the first place. If he happened to get shot trying to take someone else's car (and/or kidnapping a small child in the process), that's on him.
        Technoir
        • 6 Months Ago
        @TruthHertz
        TruthHertz will be the guy who ll end up with a few bullets in his ass after pulling a gun on a robber. It s always idiots like that who get shot.
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