Top 10 Stories of 2017: #6

WARCOG Dispatcher Selected as Telecommunicator of the Year


In 2017, WARCOG dispatcher Sarah Miller was selected by the Ohio Gold Star Awards Program as the Telecommunicator of the Year. Below is the announcement from their Facebook page:

“On September 13, 2016, Dispatcher Sarah Miller received a 9-1-1 call from a female advising she had been abducted and needed help. The captor was in the room with her and asleep at the time. The caller whispered to the dispatcher that she did not know exactly where she was other than she was in a yellow house near the 4th Street laundry in Ashland.”
SarahMiller02“As units were being dispatched Dispatcher Miller asked about the circumstances of the abduction and a description of the suspect. The caller informed her they were in an abandoned house, she had been tied up but managed to free herself; he was armed with a taser. Dispatcher Miller worked to keep the victim calm and communicating, keeping in mind she could not speak louder than a whisper without waking up the suspect. There was no way for the caller to leave the room without waking the suspect. To make matters worse, arriving officers found two yellow abandoned houses next to each other in the location given by the caller.”

“As officers attempted to determine the correct location and prepare for entry, Dispatcher Miller did her best to keep the victim on the line and calm, advising her that help was outside. She told the caller to indicate when she saw officers outside the window so she could inform them they were surrounding the correct residence. Once the correct location was verified and the perimeter secured, officers made a swift entry into the house, rescuing the victim and apprehending the suspect who woke up as the officers made entry.”

“Without a doubt, the efforts of Dispatcher Miller and the Ashland Police Division’s officers saved this victim’s life. Unknown to the responders and victim, remains of two deceased women were discovered inside the vacant house. The suspect was charged with the murder of the two deceased women and is suspected in several other homicides of females in the region.”

“Dispatcher Miller’s confident and cool demeanor throughout the call was key to the successful rescue of the victim and apprehension of an accused serial killer. The caller’s fate would have been very different if she had not remained calm, if she could not be located quickly, and did not remain on the phone until officers made contact with her. Keeping the caller calm was key. Losing the element of surprise would have greatly increased the risk of further harm to the victim and potentially for the responding officers. With no successful conclusion to this call, the other victims, all of them missing persons, would have remained open cases and an undetected serial killer would remain free to commit further crimes.”

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