MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – Operators at a 911 call center are literally a lifeline. This week is devoted to honoring them across the country. But now, CBS4 News is getting an exclusive look into one of the busiest call centers in South Florida.
At the Miami Beach 911 call center, operators rush to save lives.READ MORE: CBS News: FBI Helping With Hostage Negotiations After Missionary Kidnappings In Haiti
“Don’t move him unless it’s absolutely necessary,” operator Madeline Jimenez tells one of the calls.
Jimenez is one of the voices of 911 — a hero you hear, but never see. She’s been working the phones for 23 years, getting dramatic calls for help.
“It’s very gratifying to know that I have helped people out there and I have made a difference here on the beach,” Jimenez told CBS4’s Gio Benitez.
She’s also been at the center of some of the biggest cases, like July 15th 1997, when Andrew Cunanan had just murdered fashion designer Gianni Versace. Jimenez took the calls.READ MORE: Parkland School Massacre Families Settle With Broward School District
“The manhunt, and all of the police officers and everything looking for the guy who had shot Versace,” she said.
Jimenez says she can’t get emotional, but she is human. Some calls are haunting.
“A guy called me that there were flames coming out of the apartment, and the kid I could hear him screaming,” she said.
The screaming stopped. The child died.
“For days, I just kept hearing the screams, and kid crying and crying. It was very, very hard. I went to counseling for that,” said Jimenez.MORE NEWS: Alex Saab, Key Ally Of Venezuela Leader Nicolas Maduro, Made First Court Appearance In Miami On Money Laundering Charges
There is very little down time here. For example, last year alone, the Miami Beach operators took in more than 160,000 calls for service, and operators like Jimenez are there to listen.