For God knows how long, Central Park has been, well, a central point for crime over the years. From petty crimes, to more serious ones like rape and murders, the NYC’s most well-known park has become a staple for not only its divine beauty (landscape wise) but it has also become synonymous with danger, too. So take notes, if a crime is going down, please be very aware that your life might be at risk, um, because 911 dispatchers don’t know where the actual address or location is for CP. Here’s NY Post’s David Bowyle’s account of a how an incident went down, and well, 911 was no help. No bueno, man:
On Wednesday evening at around 7:45, I was having a beer at an outdoor cafe in the world’s most famous park, when there was a sudden commotion at the entry way. A man was yelling and waving a big stick at the staff, sounding like he’d been turned away earlier — and was back looking for revenge. He whacked the ground with his “weapon” and everything came to a halt; staff began to back away. There was real fear.
So I called 911.
Operator: “911 . . . what is your emergency?”
Me: “There is trouble at The Ballfields Café in Central Park . . . Man threatening staff and customers . . . Come quick”
Operator : “The what café?”
Me: “The Ballfields Café in Central Park.”
Operator: “Where is that?”
Me: “Inside the park on the north side of the ballfields. The Hudsucker fields or something.”
Operator: “Where do you enter the park?”
Me: “What? Come quick! . . . Put me through to the Central Park Precinct, they’ll know where it is.”
Operator: “We can’t do that, sir. What’s the closest street?”
Me: “You’re kidding; it’s in the middle of the park.”
Operator: “Where is the nearest entrance.”
I have now been on the call what feels like a long time.
Me: “OK, it’s in the southwest corner of the park below 72nd Street.”
Operator: “What does he look like?”
I gave a description and my number, and ended the call. Our level-headed server was now talking to the crazy, angry man. Tense minutes dragged by where you could just not predict if it would turn for better or worse. Angry man finally announced that it wasn’t his fault — that he had done nothing — before picking up his bicycle and slowly riding off.
Some 11 minutes after my call, a squad car finally arrived, coming from West 72nd Street. Shortly after that, two undercover cops also responded — they knew where to come when they heard the call. They explained that one call had it logged as the Café in the north of the park.
Not being able to find a well-known location inside Central Park is just one of a spate of recent problems with the city’s 911 system.
Also criticized: the city’s “Unified Call Taker” system, launched in 2009, where central NYPD operators take the address and circumstances, then route the call to FDNY for dispatch.
There have been instances of units being sent to the wrong borough and of operators passing along garbled or incorrect addresses, FDNY dispatchers contend.
After the chaotic Christmas 2010 blizzard, city consultant Winbourne & Costas blasted the UCT system as “dangerous to the citizens of NYC and public safety personnel.” Its May 2012 report suggests the city, like it did before, have 911 operators ask “What is your emergency?” and if fire or medical, instantly connect with FDNY or EMS dispatchers to further question the caller.
City spokesman John McCarthy said only that the city’s new 911 computer system “allows us to look at this change and others.”
Source: NY Post