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9-1-1 Bill Clears Hurdle

February 18th, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

Denise Amber Lee was kidnapped and murdered in 2008. Her death is considered largely preventable if more than one 9-1-1 operator had followed through on tips about the killer. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, for the second time this week, the family is in Tallahassee working to make nobody else dies because someone was untrained.

Denise Amber Lee left behind a husband and two young sons when 9-1-1 operators ignored a call from the kidnapped frantic woman herself.

“Please let me go.”

And another call from a suspicious motorist.

“Something’s going on.”

Widower Nathan Lee and his family have spent the last two years working on the legislature to pass mandatory training for 9-1-1 operators in Florida.

“My wife was murdered and a 911 call that could have saved her life was not dispatched properly and that definitely would have saved her life,” Lee said.

Lee got one step closer on Thursday when a Senate committee gave a thumbs-up after tearful testimony.

“911 communicators are the true first-responders to a citizen’s plea for help,” Nathan Lee said. “They cannot be the weakest link.”

The issue of cost continues to come up, but it’s getting less and less traction

Senate Sponsor Nancy Detert says most of the training is already taking place.

“What I’m saying is, the public is already paying for safety, they’re just not getting it,” Detert said.

The pain of for father of two has not gone away, and even if he is successful in Florida, he says he will push for national 9-1-1- training standards.

“A call to 911 that didn’t get dispatched, it’s just really hard to swallow,” Lee said. “Even now that it’s been two years, it’s still really hard to deal with.”

Nathan is continuing to walk the halls of the Capitol. Not taking his current momentum for granted and not resting until the legislation is on the governor’s desk.

The bill still has to go through two more committees in the Senate and two more committees in the House.

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