Dispatcher Who Hung Up on 911 Caller No Longer Working for City - 8 News NOW

Dispatcher Who Hung Up on 911 Caller No Longer Working for City

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LAS VEGAS -- After calls for a 911 dispatcher to be fired, the city of Las Vegas confirms it has separated ways with the dispatcher who was caught on tape hanging up on a caller.  

For the first time, 8 News NOW can publicly identify the dispatcher as Gwen Patterson.

Multiple sources say she was the one who intentionally hung up on a caller who found his mom dead. The call was uncovered during a three-month long exclusive investigation by 8 News NOW.

Two Troubling Calls to 911 Spark Investigation

The fire department says they are "done with this story." The Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Chief along with a city spokesperson refuse to comment on camera, calling this an internal personnel matter.

Sources say city hall got involved after the 8 News NOW story uncovered the 911 call hang up.

The man called 911 and a Metro Police dispatcher answered. She tried to find out where he was. At that point, the call was transferred to Patterson so she could send medical personnel. 

Caller: "Please, she's purple!"

Fire Dispatcher: "Ma'am, Ma'am."

Caller: "I'm a guy!"

Fire Dispatcher: "Ok, You need to stop. You need to calm down."

Caller: "My mom's purple (unintelligible)"

Sources say it was 59-year-old Gwen Patterson on the other end of that phone call. City officials can't give a reason why she hung up on the frantic man.

Fire Dispatcher: "I need a building number."

Caller: "Please!"

Fire Dispatcher: "Is she breathing at all?"

Caller: "No! She's Purple!"

Fire Dispatcher: "Ok, you don't have to holler at me. I didn't do it."

Caller: "F-word You Bitch!"

Fire Dispatcher: "Bye!"

Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Chief Willie McDonald responded to the call in November, when 8 News NOW brought the incident to his attention.

"That will be investigated to make sure that we understand exactly what went on there," McDonald said. 

He promised a thorough review and investigation. In an interview in January of this year, the chief repeated the seriousness of what happened.

"We took what you gave us very seriously because it's not ok. It's not consistent with the level of service that we can provide," McDonald said.

8 News NOW has learned that the department went ahead with the probe, and a month and a half later, the chief announced Patterson would receive corrective action; however, she would be allowed to stay on the job. 

"We clearly have taken the steps in this case to make sure the employee is really clear on what should have happened, and there might be some retraining that might be necessary," McDonald said in an interview at the time. 

911 Dispatcher Still Employed After Hanging Up on a Caller

The chief couldn't go any further, citing personnel matters and city protocols; however, outcry over the hang-up incident continued.

The story even found its way into national headlines with CNN's Nancy Grace expressing her opinion.

"The reason he called her an 'effing b,' is because she's like, 'address please. Address please.' I mean, I just want to slap her," Grace said.

"He is so distraught, it makes you want to cry for him and Lord help us if we ever get this woman, and she's not losing her job!" a guest commentator responded.

8 News NOW went to Patterson's home several times to get answers. Each time, there wasn't an answer at the door. Calls placed on her listed phone number seeking comment received no answer.

The I-Team confronted Patterson as she went in to work to answer 911 calls last month.

Reporter Nathan Baca: "Gwen Patterson?"

Patterson: "You're on private property."

Baca: "No, this is the fire departments lot. I just have a question: can you have any reason, do you have anything to say to the man you hung up on 911?"

Donning a Las Vegas Fire and Rescue hoodie, Patterson refused to answer questions.

Sources say the investigation went further, out of the public's eye, and got the attention of city hall.

Sources say despite what the fire chief said, there were other instances of questionable behavior by Patterson, which led to what a city spokesperson said was a 'separation' of employment with Patterson.

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Sources say she was fired late last week. According to Patterson's own Facebook page, she was employed with the city since 2007, and she has been a dispatcher for quite a while with previous jobs in Colorado and Nebraska, dating back to 1976.

"We are an organization that expects the highest level of service from our people. It is an expectation that we share with them when they come to work for us," Fire Chief Willie McDonald told 8 News NOW in January.   

The chief says the badly handled call is not reflective of the hundreds of thousands of calls the fire department answers in any given year.

He says the public deserves better, and he is working to make sure it doesn't happen again.

The 911 call was eventually handled by police and EMS workers. 8 News NOW tracked down the man who was hung up on. He said his mom died in the apartment where he placed that call for help.

She suffered from apparent complications with a prescription drug. At last check, the fire department was working to get a quality assurance position added to make sure 911 calls are handled better in the future. 
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