Operator who answered first Richard Sherman 911 call facing scrutiny

Former Seahawk Richard Sherman was arrested Wednesday in Redmond after getting into a car crash and trying to break into a family member’s home.

The first call to 911 made by his wife, Ashley Sherman, was first obtained by KIRO Radio on Wednesday. The call is distressing in many ways, but how the King County Sheriff’s Office 911 operator responded is raising concern from people across the country.

Many are accusing that call operator of being unprofessional and say she should have done a better job responding to someone in distress.

Call operator: 911 what are you reporting?

Ashley Sherman: I need officers to my house now, my husband is drunk and belligerent

Call operator: Stop, stop, what’s the address? Is there a weapon?

Ashley: We took – no there’s no gun –

Dispatcher: Listen to me!

Ashley: I’m saying there are no weapons, ma’am! There are no weapons --

Dispatcher: You need to stop interrupting me so I can get the information I need.

Ashley says Richard was being aggressive and threatening to kill himself, and said that was trying to leave the property in her car.

Ashley: He’s sent text messages to people saying he’s going to hang himself. And if the police show up, please don’t shoot is what I’m asking

About 1 minute and 45 seconds into the call:

Ashley Sherman: It’s Richard Sherman, like ma’am this is a f****** emergency,  I need officers here now!

Dispatcher: Listen to me, I’m handling this! You need to stop telling me that!

Former King County Sheriff, John Urquhart, says there’s a reason for why the dispatcher is interrupting.

“The dispatcher has certain information she has to get, and she has to get it right now,” Urquhart said.

He said the dispatcher needs to know things like the address, whether there are weapons involved and if anyone is hurt immediately, because seconds make a difference.

“She’s short with the woman because she’s taking control. Any time you’re in a conversation with someone, when someone takes control, that makes people step back and say, ‘hey wow what’s going on here?’ But in this case, they don’t understand why it’s so important, why it’s absolutely critical and it can be life and death,” Urquhart said. “They may be upset with kind of the tone of it. But when you realize all that has to be done, it’s just fine.”

The Redmond Police Department released two more 911 calls on Thursday afternoon that added up to about 45 minutes. They came from Ashley and Ashley’s sister.

Here’s one exchange with the Redmond 911 operator:

Ashley: Is somebody on the way please?

Call operator: Hold on, that’s what I’m trying to tell you, we’ve got officers on the way but I need you to answer some questions for me, okay?

Ashley: (breathing heavily) Okay.

During some of the exchange, Ashley is just as distressed but the operator maintains a more level voice.

Urquhart says tones may vary between operators, but he believes the King County operator did not violate any policies.

“In my mind, there’s no question whatsoever,” Urquhart said.

The King County Sheriff’s Office says it has received complaints and is conducting an administrative review to see if the call operator violated protocol.

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