911 Calls Not Being Answered In Nowata County - Technical Issue Or Personnel Problem?
NOWATA COUNTY, Oklahoma - A woman in Nowata County says her calls to 911 were not answered and she wants someone held accountable.
She claims it’s a personnel problem. The sheriff’s office says it’s a technical issue.
People have said that at least three 911 calls were unanswered in the last two weeks and the cause of those missed calls is still up in the air.
“It was over the course of 20 minutes that we called and called and called,” said Kayla Rodgers. “And this isn’t the first time that I’ve heard of this happening.”
Rodgers is a medical professional in Nowata. She says she called 911 for a patient on July 1st at 4:00 a.m. and couldn’t get help.
“We called 911 four times. This was over the course of 20 to 30 minutes,” she said. “We called the non-emergency number three or four times. We also called the city number, which is different, thinking maybe it would be rerouted to the city officer on call.”
Rodgers says when she couldn’t get through, she drove to the sheriff’s office.
“When I arrived up there, the dispatcher was outside with a city officer, as well as a jailer,” she said.
It was that dispatcher, Rodgers says, who missed the calls.
However, the Nowata County Sheriff’s Office says it’s a technical problem.
“They’re saying that it sounds like a problem with the trunking system,” said Undersheriff Chris Sitsler. “Our trunking system getting into contact with our PSAP, which is basically the 911 system itself.”
Rodgers says she’s frustrated with the issue and wants someone held accountable.
“The 911 system was not down,” she said. “Your dispatcher was outside.”
“The three instances that we are aware of and can confirm were from three different time periods, three different days, with three different dispatchers,” stated Sitsler. “If it’s a personnel issue, it will be taken care of.”
Meanwhile, Rodgers says she’s worried the next 911 call missed could be life or death.
An open records request revealed statements from the Nowata Police Department showing two other individuals who reported they too saw the dispatcher outside.
The Oklahoma 911 management authority says the sheriff’s office has reported that they are having phone service issues.