Opinion: Burnaby man frustrated by operators after calling police

Chris Campbell

A Burnaby resident says he is frustrated by the responses he received recently from call takers after he contacted the Burnaby RCMP.

This follows my blog about Brianne Amira, who said an E-Comm 911 operator “berated” her on the phone after calling for police help. (You can read that story here.)

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Al (he doesn’t want his last name used) contacted the NOW about two incidents in which he called the Burnaby RCMP non-emergency line.

Both calls left him unhappy with how he was treated.

“Once I called the line because I was almost hit by a speeding vehicle when I was in the middle of a zebra crossing,” Al said. “Another time was that my car was almost hit by another car without yielding while I was already in the roundabout. Both times, the operator tried to talk me out of it by saying that if I file a report and police get involved, I would have to go to court and be interviewed by police. And they asked me if I wanted the ‘trouble.’ When I said I was willing, then she said they did not usually send the officer if that only one time the driver made a bad choice.

“I think there is a systematic habit of the Burnaby RCMP non-emergency operators trying to avoid any work.”

That’s a serious charge to make, but that’s the way the operators came across to him.

I contacted the E-Comm 911 communications department and shared these concerns and received a statement.

“Any time E-Comm receives a complaint about our services, we escalate concerns to the appropriate department for full investigation,” a statement said. “In terms of call-taking or dispatch complaints, these are investigated by our internal Quality Assurance department and reviewed by members of our senior operations leadership team, who will review the call and provide a summary of their findings. Our staff are highly-trained, dedicated professionals who are proud to support our communities and emergency service partners. They are here to help 24/7 – a responsibility our staff do not take lightly. If an investigation concludes that an incident was not handled well at any point in the call-handling process, E-Comm will determine whether changes to policy or amendments to our training program need to be made. If follow-up is required with an employee, we will have their supervisor or manager review the call with them to provide coaching or to take additional steps as required – including, where warranted, appropriate discipline. Without having any of the call details related to the two examples you included in your email, I cannot comment or speculate on what may or may not have transpired. If the callers would like to reach out to us directly so our team can look into their concerns, please have them email details to talktoecomm@ecomm911.ca.”

So please keep this in mind. The calls are recorded and, as in the case with Brianne Amira, E-Comm agreed with her about the operator’s performance.

Please also remember the stress these operators are under on a daily basis.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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