Language interpreting - Language barrier may have impacted death
A 911 dispatcher in Orlando, Florida is under investigation for not transferring a Spanish-speaking caller to a language interpreter in a local food truck slaying
Mireya Maria Averado, 65, was shot and killed during a robbery of her food truck early Sunday morning around 2 a.m. on 5021 East Colonial Drive, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
A tape of the 911 call has revealed that a language barrier existed between a dispatcher and a frantic, Spanish-speaking man who had called to report the shooting and that this delayed help in arriving to a dying woman.
An investigation has been launched by the sheriff's office to determine why a 911 dispatcher did not more readily transfer the emergency call to a interpreting service, a practice that is standard procedure in such a scenario.
Ginette Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, said the agency was evaluating the circumstances in the incident. The sheriff's office houses the 911 call center.
"If modifications in our procedures are necessary, appropriate action will be promptly taken."
"Generally, once it becomes clear the caller doesn't speak English, we will ask if an English speaker is readily available. If the answer is no, we bridge the call with an interpreter service and have them translate. All employees are trained on this procedure," Rodriguez added.
She said that out of the 41 dispatchers and 74 operators at the Orange County call center, 21 speak Spanish.