Dispatchers Discuss Responding To ACA Crisis

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Jun 20, 2013 at 2:22 PM EDT

They were the voices of support for people hiding inside the American Civic Association on Friday.

911 Dispatchers played a crucial role during the crisis.

Action News Reporter Jessica Light spoke to two of the dispatchers on duty.

"911. What is your emergency?"

When the Broome County 911 dispatchers on duty answered around 10:30 Friday morning, it was silence to start.

The first were hang up calls from some of people inside the American Civic Association.

But when Senior Dispatcher James Pandich picked up, it was panic he heard.

"The first gentleman was quite frantic and he was just calling asking for the police. The second woman was remarkably calm on the phone." says Pandich.

That woman told Pandich she was in the first floor closet with a group of people, although she didn't know how many.

The dispatcher talked to her for almost 2 hours, working to pinpoint her location in the building while listening for any sound from the shooter in the background.

Another call came from a person hiding in the boiler room in the basement.

Then there was Shirley DeLucia, the ACA receptionist who played dead after being shot by Jiverly Wong.

"I wanted to find out where she was injured. If she knew how many other people were injured. Where the suspect was and what type of weapons he might have had." says Kenneth Hayes, an Emergency Services Dispatcher.

Hayes says DeLucia stayed calm and answered all his questions.

Those answers helped police bring the 37 people hiding from Wong to safety and rescue the 4 who were wounded.

The dispatchers acted as a liaison between police and the people trapped inside.

"In a situation like that, they know they're not alone. There's somebody out there, there's some body that's going to try to get them help to the best of their ability." says Pandich.

A voice on the other end of the line that brought reassurance, and for 41 survivors, rescue.

In the Town of Dickinson, Jessica Light, WBNG-TV Action News.

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