911 operator who fell asleep has been reprimanded, police say

August 07, 2004|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

The Anne Arundel County 911 operator who last week fell asleep for nearly two minutes while taking an emergency call has been reprimanded, police said yesterday.

Police spokesman Lt. Tom Wilson said that "disciplinary action has been administered" against Louis Gerber, but he would give no further comment about the investigation.

Gerber has been a 911 operator with the county since 1993.

Lt. Joseph Jordan, also a police spokesman, said this week that Gerber could face any number of actions, ranging from a written warning to dismissal.

Gerber told WBAL-TV that he had gotten only about an hour of sleep before going to work his midnight shift, having taken his 82-year-old mother for cancer and dialysis treatment.

"In retrospect, maybe I should have called in sick, but I wasn't," Gerber told the station. "Apparently I was exhausted."

Gerber added that he was "extremely sorry for embarrassing everyone in the department."

Reached last night by telephone, Gerber would say only that the investigation is continuing. He declined to discuss the reprimand or what happened the night of the call.

The 911 operator came under scrutiny this week after Patricia Berg of Glen Burnie complained to police that Gerber dozed off while processing her report of a possible prowler outside her home.

A tape of the early morning call reveals that Berg's request for help July 29 was delayed for about a minute and 40 seconds as Gerber fell asleep and snored into the phone.

When he was finally roused by Berg, Gerber finished gathering information and passed the call to dispatchers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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