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Cell phone technology helps police breakup attack on woman

9:11 PM, Jan 4, 2010   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida - The 911 call is 15 minutes of anguish. At times, the sobbing woman begs a man for her life.

However, the early Saturday morning call starts out with just muffled voices. Still, the 911 operator realized in just seconds that this was a serious call and that she better keep quiet. She didn't want to tip off the attacker.

Tampa Police Captain Hugh Miller says it's a skill not everyone has. "To have what we call the radio ear - that sixth sense. We have one thing to work with and that is your hearing. To listen beyond the words, how they're being said."

But communications technician Ve-etta Bess didn't just listen, she set the wheels in motion to send help.

The TPD communications command center has technology that in some cases can pinpoint the location of a cell phone. In just three minutes, officers had an address and were on their way to the house.

Communications Supervisor Donovan Maginnis says it's great when technology and experienced people work together. "It's a perfect example of someone who's paying attention and knows what they're doing. It's how they can really help."

Police broke into the house and stopped the attack. They eventually arrested Tommy Lee Sailor, 37, a registered sexual predator. They say he tried to rape the woman, while holding a screwdriver to her neck.

And police also commend the victim in this case, for fighting back, and secretly calling 911.

Kathryn Bursch, 10 Connects

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