Adrianne Ledesma, 17, became very frightened after she saw her father having a seizure on the kitchen floor just three weeks after he had brain surgery. She picked up the phone and called 911, afraid that her dad was going to die. After failing to get an answer, she hung up the phone and immediately called 911 again. After the phone rang several times, the Lincoln Park, Michigan teenager said, “What the f***,” as she prepared to hang up the phone again. At the exact moment, Officer Robert McFarland picked up the phone. Adrianne asked for a f***ing ambulance to be sent to her address. The officer first instructed her not to swear and then hung up on her. The teen did not realize that all 911 calls are recorded before the dispatcher ever answers, and that help is already headed her dad’s way.
Adrianne called back several times before McFarland finally transferred the call to the fire chief, telling him that a teenage girl on the phone kept swearing at him. The interaction between McFarland and the teen took over six minutes while the father lay on the floor unconscious and possibly dying. After feeling like she did not get the help that her dad, who was perhaps dying, needed, Adrianne rushed to the police department as she was unaware that McFarland had dispatched first responders. This left her little brother, who was only 10 years old, home along with his dad, who was possibly dying. One can only imagine the terror that this young boy must have been feeling. Adrianne was arrested for disorderly conduct and abuse of 911 after identifying herself when all the panicked teen was doing was trying to get help for her father, who was unconscious and had recently had brain surgery. The officer made up the last charge as it is not found in any Michigan lawbook, and who could blame the teen who thought her dad was dying for being rude after she felt that dispatch had failed to send help.
Officer McFarland was suspended for two weeks without pay and sent for further training. While Officer McFarland never made a public statement, his immediate supervisor admitted that the city employee responsible for dispatching help to the dying father dropped the ball. The teen and her dad, who has since recovered, have retained a lawyer. Some suggest that the recording, which has been publicly released, should be used to train other dispatchers. Officer McFarland has over 20 years of experience as a police officer, so he should have known that some teens throw that word around and do not even consider it cussing. One must be thankful that the teenager was so persistent in getting care for her father despite the officer’s behavior.