Longmont Emergency Communications Center, CO
Nominated by Tamara Gibbs
There are countless examples and times where Kristine goes above and beyond trying to find someone with very little information.
On Saturday, October 17, 2015, at 5:33 PM MST, Kristine took a phone call from a VA (Veteran's Administration) Suicide Hotline supervisor. Kristine was told a crisis worker had a male caller on the line who was suicidal. He wouldn't give his name or address, but they were able to obtain the phone number he was calling from. The male had been drinking, was threatening to shoot his dogs and then himself, and had already fired a round from his gun while he was on the phone with the crisis worker. During the 45 minutes the male was on the phone with the crisis worker, the VA was able to learn the caller was an approximately 70 year old Navy veteran and lived in a housing community. Through their research, they believed the number he was calling from was a CenturyLink landline.
With the information she had, Kristine called CenturyLink but was forced to navigate through their automated menu before she reached a live person. After explaining what the emergency was, she was told she needed to submit a demand letter. This was immediately done. On getting the letter, CenturyLink advised the phone number now belonged to another phone company, Level 3 Communications.
Kristine called the VA back to give them an update. In turn, the VA advised they still had the male on the phone, he had fired another round from his gun, and they could hear a dog crying in the background. In addition, the VA advised the phone number was traced back to Maxtor even though the male was now saying he was calling from Wichita, KS.
Kristine then called Level 3 Communications and had to navigate through another automated answering system more frustrating than CenturyLink's. When she finally reached security and explained the situation, she was told they could not do phone traces and gave her the phone number of a 9-1-1 center they operate through. She called that 9-1-1 center and found herself in another automated answering system. When she finally reached a person, she had to explain the situation one more time. The Level 3 employee began looking into the matter but Kristine sensed this employee didn't understand this was an emergency situation. She made it clear to him what the situation was. While this helped speed things along, all Level 3 could tell her was the phone number in question was sold to yet another phone company, West IP, and she would have to call them.
Undeterred, Kristine called West IP and had to navigate through yet another automated answering system. In the process of doing so, she ended up talking with several persons and telling them what was going on and what she needed. After being bounced around, she finally reached the right person at West IP.
After explaining once more what the situation was, the West IP employee said the number was sold to a "sister company." In addition, they had Intrado as the address and last contact. This made no sense and the employee agreed, however, even after more research by West IP, they admittedly could provide no further help.
Forging ahead, Kris called Intrado. She didn't get another automated answering system nightmare, but had to explain the situation to their Help Desk employee before she was transferred to Intrado Security. After explaining the situation to Security, Kristine was advised the matter would be researched and she would be called back.
While waiting for a response from Intrado, Kris called the VA back to provide another update. In turn, the VA said they were still on the phone with the male and he was still drinking, but they did learn his first name was Rex and they managed to get an ex-wife's phone number from him. On researching that number, Kristine was able to confirm the phone number did come back to Wichita, KS.
Seizing on the opportunity, Kristine called the phone number and made contact with a woman who, after hearing what was happening, admitted she was Rex's ex-wife. Kristine engaged her in sympathetic conversation and, by doing so, was able to learn Rex's full name, his date-birth, a partial home address in Wichita, that Rex did own a gun and dogs, and he had been suicidal in the past.
Fifty-six minutes after receiving the initial call from the VA, and after a lot of digging, Kristine was able to provide the VA the information they needed as well the phone number to Wichita PD. The VA employee she was working with was very excited about getting this news and told Kristine she was fantastic several times. In the end, the VA contacted Wichita PD who responded to Rex's home, Rex barricaded himself and had to be forcibly taken into protective custody through the use of K-9s after he came out of his home and fire his gun. He was taken to a hospital for his mental health issues and the injuries he sustained during his apprehension.
A second example is when Kris received a phone call from someone stating that a friend had called and said he was going to commit suicide by stepping in front of a semi. Kristine placed a call to the wireless provider which provided service to the suicidal individual. Wireless providers generally require the PSAP to fill out a demand letter. However, in this case the provider waived that requirement as a precondition to determining the location of the device. Still it was at the twelve-minute and two-second mark since the start of the incident the provider completed retreiving the requested location information. After giving this information to Kristine she found the phone was in another jurisdiction, the City of Aurora. Kristine immediately placed a call to Aurora and the Aurora call-taker responded: "We just had somebody step in front of a vehicle less than two minutes ago." It took eight-minutes from the time Kristine made phone contact with the wireless provider before they could give her the location of the device.
Kristine Mason embodies the "extra mile" and never stops trying to help those that may not willing accept that help.