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Battling Cancer, Anaheim Girl, 11, Honored for Effort to Fight Crime

by Cristian Soler

Dispatcher Ryan Dedmond joins honoree Jessica Solis, her mother, Emma Cruz, Francisco Hernandez and best friend, Jackie

Battling Leukemia for most of her life didn’t stop 11-year-old Jessica Solis from fighting crime when she dialed 911 to report a group of 40-50 juveniles brawling outside of her parents’ apartment.  

For her effort, the Anaheim Police Department honored her last week with a certificate and 10 tickets to a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim game. They also invited her to eavesdrop while dispatchers worked emergency calls.

It was a Wednesday afternoon; Jessica and her friends were playing outside when she noticed a group of boys yelling at each other for unknown reasons. It eventually escalated into a big fistfight.  

One of the neighborhood mothers was having difficulty using a cellular phone to get help.  Immediately, Jessica stepped forward to grab the phone, dial 911, and provide information to dispatcher Ryan Dedmon.

Jessica Solis listened as dispatcher Stacy Latshaw fielded 911 calls

“Calm and Composed,” said Dedmon, describing Jessica’s tone.  “It was impressive,” referring to Jessica’s ability to articulate the situation. 

Jessica was able to verify her address, phone number, location of the event and confirm that no weapons were being used, Dedmon said.  

“I taught myself how to dial 911,” Jessica said. 

Two officers arrived on scene to see a large group of juveniles, but no fighting was taking place.  A few minutes later, the crowd started to disperse and no arrests were made.  

Because Jessica was able to give specific information, dispatcher Dedmon only sent out two officers to the scene.  

Deciding how many officers are sent on a call depends on the extent of injuries, if weapons are being used and the seriousness of the incident, Dedmon said.  Sometimes dispatchers will also keep callers on the phone to reevaluate the status of the situation. 

Jessica’s mother, Emma Cruz, describes her daughter as a very loving person.  She is also very smart.  Jessica can read, write, and speak in English and Spanish.  She also loves to play Tetherball, Handball, and Mario Kart on her new Nintendo Wii she received as a gift.

Jessica said she plans to invite her best friend, Jackie, from Juliette Lo Elementary School, to the Angels game after she recovers from a surgery on May 10.

“Si Dios me quiere llevar, me lleve,” Jessica once said about her ailment.  Translation:  “If God wants to take me, God will take me.” 

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