New technology helps save Akron man shot during burglary, police say

AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – Police in Akron say new technology allowed a 911 dispatcher to save a man’s life after the victim was shot by an intruder who broke into his house.

When he heard a frightened woman whisper only the word “help” and then hang up early Thursday morning, the dispatcher’s instincts told him he needed to act fast.

“You don’t know the circumstances why someone can’t talk to us on the phone. In this situation, she was in an upstairs bedroom, didn’t know if the shooter was still in the house, can’t communicate, so we have to make sure we do the follow-up to get emergency help to them if needed,” said APD Capt. David Laughlin.

The dispatcher used a computer program called “Rapid SOS” to identify the general area where the call came from.

He then used new technology called “Prepared Live” that allowed him to send a text directly to the caller.

“The text read, ‘This is Akron, we got a 911 call, is everything okay?’ And then she literally replies back with ‘help’ and the address,” said Captain Laughlin.

Officers quickly arrived on the scene in South Akron, located the 26-year-old shooting victim and got him the help he needed.

“You know, it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it right now, that it worked so well that officers were on their way, got there and rendered aid to this young man who had been shot. I mean, everyone did spectacularly work from the communications center to the police, our EMS personnel,” said Captain Laughlin.

Those who believe in the cutting-edge technology say officers historically had no choice but to drive around the neighborhood and hope they could find the victim or be flagged down by a witness.

They point to the Thursday morning shooting as an example of how effective the Rapid SOS and Prepared Live programs can be when used by a dispatcher who understands their capabilities.

“Technology is a great thing if it helps us,” said Captain Laughlin. “In this case, it helped save this young man’s life, I believe.”

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