911 dispatcher hangs up on Spanish speaker

The city is approximately 75% Spanish speaking

LAWRENCE, Mass. (CNN) – A 911 dispatcher’s job is on the line for allegedly hanging up on Spanish-speaking callers.

Dispatch: Lawrence police this line is recorded, how may I help you?

A Lawrence police call taker is in a lot of trouble after mishandling several 911 calls from Spanish-speaking people.

Dispatch: Lawrence police Department… I don’t speak Spanish, I speak English. Do you have someone who speaks Spanish? No, just English.

Chief James Fitzpatrick says that caller in need was never heard from again and is disgusted by how this 911 call was handled.

“She’s supposed to bring a translator online to help with the caller and get to the root of the problem,” said Fitzpatrick.

Apparently this is not the first time this particular dispatcher has mishandled 911 calls; this is actually her third offense; as of right now she been place on paid leave but the chief wants everyone to know it’s safe for everyone to call 911.

“Don’t hesitate to call Lawrence Police Department regardless of language barriers, if we need to we’ll bring an interpreter online and get to the bottom of whatever the issue is,” said Fitzpatrick.

Still many Lawrence residents are appalled.

Elizabeth Rivera of Lawrence said, “How are you going to get the help you need if they don’t have anyone who speaks Spanish?

“It’s not just they didn’t do their job, they put people in harm’s way,” said Mayor Daniel Rivera of Lawrence.

Mayor Rivera says the city is approximately 75 percent Spanish, and the department is required to have a translator always available.

“The people that work there for the most part they do a good job,” said the Mayor.

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