, Salem, MA


June 5, 2014

Our view: Police dispatcher went the extra mile

The woman was screaming, terrified, as she called 911, begging her former boyfriend to let her out of the truck he was driving around Salem and pleading with him not to kill her.

But what happened next on that harrowing evening in May is exactly what you would hope would happen.

When the phone disconnected abruptly, Salem police dispatcher Mike Griffin didn’t give up.

He called the woman’s cellphone provider, T-Mobile, which used its GPS to locate the phone and allow police to track it through Salem. They also provided her identity. Griffin ran her name through the police computer and learned that she’d been a victim in previous domestic assaults and that Robert Scribner had been the accused attacker in those cases. Then, Griffin used Registry of Motor Vehicles records to determine what kind of truck Scribner owned.

With that information, police on the streets were able to locate the truck quickly and arrest Scribner.

No one knows what might have happened if Griffin had been less vigilant or less savvy, but it’s no stretch to say he may have saved a life that night.

Griffin showed technological sophistication and quick thinking in a tense situation, but what resonates even more is how much he cared. He went the extra mile, refusing to throw up his hands in a situation some might have viewed as impossible.

We are all a little safer with people like Griffin on the other end of the line. And the least we can do is offer him a well-deserved “thank you.”

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