NOPD answers to criticism over responses to I-10 shooting reports

A family from Pearl River who believes their car was shot on I-10 in New Orleans East says 911 operators didn't take their call seriously.

PEARL RIVER-  Dawn Huth is still in shock over what happened to her vehicle Wednesday afternoon with her four children inside.

"Got around the Irish Bayou, Michoud Boulevard area and all of a sudden our back glass window had just busted out," she said. "Very scared, very nervous.  We immediately told all the children just to get down."

When the family got to their destination in Harahan, they spotted a small hole on the drivers side of the back windshield.  Recent reports of shootings on I-10 in the New Orleans East area came to mind.

But when the family called the 7th District police station to report it, Huth says she was just told the information would be passed along to dispatchers.  A Hattiesburg family complained about a similar brush-off when reporting two shots fired into their SUV near the high-rise last month.

"I don't feel that an incident, to me this serious or scary, the call should have lasted only a minute," Huth said.

"We don't want any citizen, or resident or visitor to feel as though what they have to report doesn't matter, so I definitely would like to make that right," said 7th District Commander Lawrence Dupree.

But Dupree also wants to make sure future emergencies are getting to the right person.  That is a 911 dispatcher, not a district desk clerk, who can often times be bogged down with other calls, walk-ins and administrative duties.

"The desk officers are not trained at the federal level in how to screen and triage those calls," said Dupree, "Just because you may think the better idea is to call the police station that you're in, you may also need other services like Fire and EMS. And the 911 dispatchers are trained to ask strategic questions."

And it doesn't matter if you're dialing 911 from outside of New Orleans, you can be connected to the right place through the 911 system.

"If you have an emergency, any emergency, please just call 911," said Dupree.

You're also advised to make that call to police before repairing any damage that's part of your report.  And usually, emergencies of this manner do require an in-person report to be made, which can be done at any district station in the city.

The Huth's do plan to make an in-person report, and the district says it's ready to look into the matter to determine whether a crime was committed.  Meanwhile, the Hattiesburg family has been in constant communication with a detective after filing theirs.

But both want their stories to be continued reminders for families traveling I-10 through the East to be aware at all times.

Police also ask, no matter where you live, no matter what suspicious activity or incident you encounter, don't just post it to social media. Be sure to report it to law enforcement first.

 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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