911 Calls – A Public Matter (2/1/12) - WDRB 41 Louisville News

911 Calls – A Public Matter (2/1/12)

Last Friday, filmmaker Albert Brooks, referring to the publicity surrounding actress Demi Moore's emergency trip to the hospital, said: 

"Why…are 911 calls public? People's worst moments of their lives should be their own." 

Kentucky State Senator John Schickel apparently agrees. He's been pursuing legislation for several years that would ban the broadcast of any 911 calls on TV or radio.

But while the release of such calls can sometimes be uncomfortable to those involved, I believe the greater good is served by Kentucky's current law requiring that all calls be available to the public.

Emergency agencies are funded by the public, and the public has a right to know how government operates. What if 911 operators were not helping people in need?  We'd need those recordings to prove it. 

As an example, last year WDRB did a revealing report on a communications breakdown that occurred after an explosion in Rubbertown. Without those calls, we'd never have been able to demonstrate the confusion that existed, and the problem might have remained.

I understand there'll always be some attention-seeking blogger anxious to release any 911 call that serves to embarrass the celebrity du jour. But I don't think this is a problem among responsible journalists. And what we'd lose by restricting such information would far outweigh anything that would be gained.

I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my…Point of View.

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