Local News

Local dispatcher discusses Cincinnati incident where boy died in car after calling for help

Hannah Haromiko works as a dispatcher for the Columbiana Police Department

COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) - Following the death of 16-year-old Kyle Plush, the boy who called 911 twice for help in Cincinnati after being trapped inside a minivan, police response time is being called into question.

And with this week marking National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, which honors 911 dispatchers, Reporter Dan Marcel sat down with a local dispatcher for the Columbiana Police Department to discuss her job.

Hannah Haromiko, 20 years old, has been answering 911 calls for two years. She says some of the calls will stay with her forever.

She's received calls from small children, worried about their parents who are overdosing.

"We just talk to them on the phone, wait until they get there. We can't really explain why they can't wake up, but ... I've ... gotten that a couple of times since I've started here," she said.

Haromiko sees first hand some of the issues people face that link to the opioid epidemic. But, technology advances in the last several years have helped dispatchers change the way they handle calls on a day to day basis.

"911 calls probably lasted about 30 seconds -- where you're at, what's wrong, name and number, and that was it. But now, sometimes we stay on the phone until the ambulance gets there if it's serious enough," she said.

When asked about Plush's incident, Haromiko said there's no room for mistakes.

"You can't really make mistakes, there are no such things as minor mistakes in this job," she said.

Plush had called for help twice, giving his location, but police were still not able to find him.

She, as well as Columbiana Police Chief Tim Gladis, says the tragedy won't change the department's methods. If they can't locate a person in trouble, they'll keep searching until they do.

"You have to be sure that you know because the officers need to know before they get there," Haromiko said.

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