Dispatcher Speaks Out on Rescuing Undocumented Immigrants in Trailer
EDINBURG – Dash camera video shows how authorities found 16 people who crossed the border illegally. They were located inside an 18-wheeler at the Flying J truck stop.
The moment of rescue didn't start at the scene. It was a 9-1-1 call for help. Edinburg police dispatchers responded quickly.
In dash camera video provided by the Edinburg Police Department, you can hear officers speaking to a woman inside the tractor trailer.
Officers ask her if she and others need help, water, and if anyone else is in the trailer.
However, even before the camera started to roll, the action was already in motion in the Edinburg Police Department Dispatch Center.
It’s police dispatcher Victor Vasquez’s first year on the job. He picked up the phone.
Below is part of the 9-1-1 call between Vasquez and the caller.
Dispatcher: Edinburg police, Vasquez.
Caller: Do you speak Spanish?
Dispatcher: Si, sir.
Caller: Listen, I want to report something there. A friend called me but he is not answering anymore. He said he is locked up in a trailer on Monte Cristo, at the truck stop.
Dispatcher: Do you know what the color of the truck?
Caller: No, he just said do me a favor
"There's a lot of semis in that place. The color would probably be the one that distinguishes it from the rest. So I asked twice for the color and asked if it was moving that way we can actually track to see if it's still there or if it left how long it left so on and so forth. And we didn't have that much to go on,” said Vasquez.
Vasquez gathered the caller’s name and contact information and alerted his sergeant. The officer responded quickly.
"You know what you're right, we don't have that much to go on lets go anyway just make sure you don't that incident that happened in San Antonio, happen in our city,” said Vasquez.
You can hear the officer go to each trailer and knock on the trailer doors.
"So we got there and as soon as they told us, ‘Hey there's people knocking back!’ you know everyone in dispatch was grateful. Was happy there was cheering because it was a team effort,” said Vasquez.
Vasquez said after the celebration. It was back to work. Dispatchers always have another officer to guide and another life to save.
Vasquez added dispatchers must learn how to multi-task. They deal with different people and emotions with each call.
The Edinburg Police Department gets about 67,000 calls a year.