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Nesquehoning resident seeks county's help in dealing with 911center incident

Published April 02. 2010 05:00PM

A Nesquehoning resident is asking for Carbon County officials' help to resolve an issue involving the way the 911 Communications Center handled his emergency call.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, John Kennedy, who lives along Mill Street in Nesquehoning, approached the board with a letter he wrote regarding a recent incident in the area.

Kennedy said that around 1:22 a.m. on March 20, he heard gun shots coming from behind his home, which is located near the Panther Valley Elementary School. He called 911 to report the incident, expecting police to respond to the call. He said no one responded to his address, which he said he gave.

Kennedy said that he was dissatisfied with the services he received because nothing was done, and then he was told the call was handled appropriately.

He added that he spoke with Nesquehoning Borough Council, the Nesquehoning Police and Gary Williams, the 911 manager, in regards to this matter.

Kennedy asked what the appropriate procedure should be when someone calls 911?

"I'm under the impression that everyone who calls 911 deserves a response," he said. "The people in the county deserve some type of response."

He suggested that changes be made to 911 calls, including having the dispatcher ask if the caller wants a police officer to report to his or her location.

The commissioners were in agreement, stating that they would like to have a meeting with Williams and Kennedy to see if this incident can be made into a learning experience so that this does not happen again.

Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, said "I believe that everyone who calls 911, and most especially when there are shots fired, that there is some type of acknowledgment either at their door or a call from police so they know that what they were calling about was being looked into."

He added that maybe the county needs to better communicate with the local police departments to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Commissioner Charles Getz then asked Randall Smith, county administrator, to set up the meeting between commissioners, Williams and Kennedy.

In other matters, the board voted to enter into an agreement with Kenneth Leffler for consulting and directing services to the Bureau of Elections, beginning March 27. He will be paid $50 per hour for his services.

Commissioner Wayne Nothstein said the agreement will be in place until after the county hires a new elections director.

Currently, the county is operating without a director.

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