Two police dispatchers have been suspended for delays in sending officers to separate 911 calls–including one that ended with one woman being shot.
The Detroit Free Press reports that one of the victims, called 911 six times early Friday morning trying to prevent an argument at her house from escalating, but the cops didn’t respond until after she had been shot with an AK-47 while standing on her porch. An hour passed between the time the woman called 911 and was shot.
She is now in critical condition.
“I want the dispatchers to take their jobs more serious,” the woman’s mother, told the Free Press. “And if they do that, there will be less people getting hurt.”
The other dispatcher is being investigated for taking 90 minutes to send officers to the stabbing of a woman, who died in a domestic assault in May.
The department is considering whether it should file criminal charges against the dispatchers. Detroit Police Chief James Craig also demoted Cmdr. Todd Bettison, the head of the police department’s communications section, to the rank of inspector.
Detroit’s emergency response services have been under scrutiny for some time, so the recent revelations come as no surprise. The Free Press has more:
Police have been under fire for slow responses to calls for assistance — an issue that also has emerged in discussions about problems with city services in the wake of the bankruptcy filing earlier this summer.
Response times for “priority one” calls averaged 58 minutes in Detroit, according to Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr’s report to creditors. Police officials, though, have said that “priority one” is not a designation only reserved for life-threatening emergencies, but also is used in some nonemergencies. Officials have said response times to emergencies, such as shootings, are faster.
Bettison’s department also has been buffeted by two communications crashes in recent months, although the crashes were blamed on a hardware glitch and system upgrade by Motorola Solutions.
Craig, who took over the department in July, has made sweeping changes and said he is restructuring to get more officers on the streets. Some special operations officers have been redeployed; the number of officers on the mayor’s executive protection unit has been reduced, as has the number assigned to the City Council; and officers from Craig’s office have been reassigned.
Craig, who was installed as chief this summer, said he is committed to cleaning up the department.
“Status quo, complacency, mediocrity will not be accepted,” said Craig. “We’re in the business of saving lives and certainly our inaction, if it results in critical injury and death, is problematic and unacceptable.”