Concerned citizen gets frustrated while reporting tip to dispatc - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Concerned citizen gets frustrated while reporting tip to dispatch

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A concerned citizen who tried to help Chattanooga police find a man with a gun discovered the system may be part of the problem. 

A shootout on Ocoee Street left a teenager wounded in the crossfire. One suspect has been arrested. Police are still searching for Gary Cross.

READ MORE | UPDATE: 1 arrested, 1 sought in Ocoee St. shooting 

After Channel 3 released the photos on Monday, a man who recognized Cross called the number provided by Chattanooga police but wasn't able to get his information into the right hands. 

The number he dialed, 423-698-2525, went to the same operators who handle 911 calls. 

Channel 3 is withholding the caller's identity for his protection. 

He called five times over a span of five hours but couldn't reach the right person to relay the information. 

"He just got frustrated with the fact that he couldn't, first of all that our people didn't know about the broadcast or that the information went out and that he couldn't get a hold of the people that he was trying to get a hold of right away," Hamilton County 911 Emergency Communications District Executive Director John Stuermer said. 

Stuermer understands the caller's frustration but wants the public to know 911 operators are trained to ask questions for a reason. 

"Our big thing that we want to bring out when we talk to people is, when you call in we don't know everything that the agencies are doing that we're supporting. We're going to ask questions. Our telecommunicators are highly trained. They ask a lot of questions and the reason why they ask them is because they want to make sure they get the right information and get the right people," he said. 

The caller was eventually able to speak to an officer. 

Stuermer says his office routinely reviews calls to see what they can do better. 

"Our goal is to get the calls the right response as quickly as possible or get them in touch with the people they're trying to locate," he said. 

Police are still searching for Gary Cross. If you know where he is, call Chattanooga police at 698-2525.

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