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Lawrence 911 Dispatcher Accused Of Hanging Up On Spanish Speaking Callers

LAWRENCE (CBS) - A 911 dispatcher's job is on the line for hanging up on callers who couldn't speak English.

Lawrence Police Chief James Fitzpatrick says one caller in need was never heard from again and he is disgusted by how the 911 call was handled.

"She was supposed to bring a translator online to get to help with the caller and get to the root of the problem," Chief Fitzpatrick said.

Apparently this is not the first time this particular dispatcher has mishandled 911 calls. This is actually her third offense and as of now she been place on paid leave.

The chief wants everyone to know that it's safe to call 911.

"Don't hesitate to call the Lawrence Police Department regardless of language barrier," Fitzpatrick said. "We will get to the bottom of whatever the issue is."

Still many Lawrence residents are appalled. Resident Elizabeth Rivera asked, "How are you going to get the help that you need if they don't have anyone that speak Spanish?"

Mayor Daniel Rivera says the city is approximately 75 percent Spanish and the department is required to have a translator always available.

"It's not just they didn't do their job, they put people in harm's way," Mayor Daniel Rivera said. "The people that work there for the most part do a good job."

Lawrence Police says the dispatcher is still under investigation and may be fired.

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