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Dispatchers seek dismissal in 911 suit

  |   Jan. 5, 2012 at 5:57 PM
DETROIT, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- The Michigan Supreme Court scheduled arguments next week in the case of two Detroit dispatchers accused of treating emergency calls as pranks.

The Detroit News reported Thursday the case involves a 2006 emergency handled by dispatchers Sharon Nichols and Terri Sutton.

On Feb. 20, 2006, Robert Turner, 5, twice dialed 911 to report his mother's collapse. The calls were logged by dispatchers as pranks, but a patrol officer, sent after the second call, found Sherill Turner, 46, dead of a heart attack.

Nichols was convicted in 2008 of neglect of duty, a criminal conviction believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. Charges against Sutton were dismissed because she sent an officer to the home although she accused the boy of "playing on the phone."

At the trial, city officials were accused of operating a poorly equipped and understaffed emergency system. Nichols pointed out her judgment about Turner's call came after 4 1/2 hours of sleep following a double shift the previous day.

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