California dispatchers save life of suicidal woman on Long Island

Byby Katie Utehs KGO logo
Friday, January 27, 2017
Dispatchers save life of suicidal woman
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Diana Williams has the story.

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. -- 911 dispatchers in California saved the life of a suicidal woman on Long Island with just a phone, a computer, and quick thinking.

"All we had was a name and a phone number," said Alameda County dispatcher Lucia Guzman. "Not only did we not know where she was, we also were working with a language barrier."

Alameda County Sheriff's dispatchers took the call from a north Idaho crisis center Wednesday for a woman who might be in the Bay Area.

A detective picked up the phone.

"He was really smart with about it," said Guzman. "It was about 7:40 a.m. here and he wasn't getting anywhere with her. And he said, 'Hey, what time is it?' She goes, 'It's 10:40.'"

"So we knew she wasn't in California and then when we started getting the ping, we realized she was in New York," said Debra Williams, who has been a dispatcher for 31 years.

The ping went off in Rockville Centre. The woman went live on Facebook.

"The second time she went live she was actually cutting herself," said Williams. "A couple of us were watching the video trying to freeze frames and describe the vehicle, figure out where she was in her car."

They scanned Google maps. Local police got to her in time.

"It felt good to be able to find her and help her," Williams told ABC7 News. "Help her in the end."

In the four hours dispatchers worked to find the woman, they still took some 209 calls for service into the center.

"We all collectively are able to do a lot of amazing things in here," said Williams.