Following is the Collier County Sheriff’s Office’s response to a July 15, 2016, press conference alleging that the agency failed to provide language interpretation in a timely manner during a Jan. 31, 2016, 911 call relating to a knife-wielding subject at the intersection of North 3rd and West Main streets in Immokalee:
Our investigation into this incident remains active, but detectives have determined, through evidence collected and interviews conducted, that it is highly unlikely that the 911 call was related to the knife-wielding subject.
The dispatcher asked the 911 caller whether he spoke English or Spanish. The caller replied that he spoke English. When the caller did not provide the dispatcher with any comprehensible information she asked him two more times what language he spoke, but was unable to obtain a response. The caller ended the call before providing any actionable information. The dispatcher exhausted all efforts to follow up and obtain information from the caller. However, all of the responses the caller provided were unintelligible to the dispatcher and to the professional language line translator that was on the line with the caller and the dispatcher.
Detectives have determined that deputies encountered the armed subject while on proactive patrol, and despite being put in harm’s way, intervened quickly and were able to save the life of an innocent victim that was being stabbed and attacked by a subject with a knife.
The CCSO Communications Center has a 24/7 plan to assist callers who don’t speak English. We have bilingual 911 operators, we connect callers to interpreters of a wide variety of languages and have advanced technology to locate callers as well as the capability to receive 911 text messages. For many years our plan has met and exceeded emergency communication standards established by the Department of Justice, the National Emergency Number Association and the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.