These 911 Emergency Dispatchers Are Ready to Defund the Police

For The Daily Beast

For the past six and a half years, James, a military veteran in his thirties, has spent his days in a 911 call center on the East Coast, counseling strangers during some of the worst moments of their lives. 

“I like helping people and I’m good at what I do,” he told The Daily Beast. 

James thinks he has “a couple dozen CPR saves”—incidents when he’s talked someone through performing the procedure, keeping someone alive until the paramedics arrive. But that’s not what he thinks about when he reflects on his profession these days. Instead, it’s his complicity in a system that kills people of color.

“They’re alive today and I’m very seriously considering walking away from that, because I do not like what I’m doing with regards to the police.”

As the national debate around police violence has exploded—with historic protests demanding justice for the deaths of Ahmaud ArberyGeorge FloydBreonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks, among so many others—James and other 911 telecommunicators, as they are called, have been pushed to the breaking point. (continued)

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Katie MacBride is a freelance journalist, essayist, and co-founder/associate editor of Anxy magazine. Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone, The Daily Beast, Vice, Playboy, and Buzzfeed, among other publications. Follow her on Twitter: @msmacb

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