A Long Beach Police Department dispatcher's quick thinking on a 9-1-1 call from an unfolding robbery led to the arrest of two suspects and the safe ending of the hold-up, it was announced Friday afternoon.
Police were first called to the scene at 8:11 p.m. Thursday by someone inside an unnamed electronics store near Willow and Pine Avenue, where a robbery was unfolding, police spokeswoman Lisa Massacani reported.
But the suspect approached the caller, who had to abandon the call, Massacani said in an e-mailed press statement. The fast-acting dispatcher, also unnamed, called back the store's landline, which a suspect answered.
"The quick-thinking dispatcher posed as a customer and asked questions to keep him on the line to obtain additional information while distracting him from the scared employees as police were arriving," Massacani wrote.
One suspect was captured and a second escaped. The second suspect was chased on foot and by air, with a helicopter assisting the search. A K-9 unit joined the search, Massacani said, and officers in the sky announced by loudspeaker that the dog was coming after him.
Massacani said the second suspect surrendered, and unnamed stolen merchandise was recovered. The suspects were only described as men and were not named 'due to the ongoing investigation," Massacani wrote.
The police department took the opportunity to explain to the public why a landline can be useful under such circumstances:
"Businesses owners and employees should be aware that landline phones can provide an added level of security should police need to respond to an emergency. Anytime 9-1-1 is dialed from a landline phone, the exact address of the location is automatically displayed to the dispatcher, and if the caller is not able to speak to the dispatcher, this call is classified as an “incomplete 9-1-1,” and made a priority. A landline phone kept in an inconspicuous place at the business can be a discreet way for employees to summon police to their location in the event of an emergency, without compromising their safety."
The press release also notes that "Long Beach Police dispatchers receive extensive training to handle a variety of crisis situations, while simultaneously relaying crucial information to the officers who are responding to the scene. The LBPD commends our hardworking dispatchers for the great work that led to the capture of the suspects while keeping the community safe in this situation, as well as the incredible work they do every day."