Detroit's Pokey 911 Dispatchers May Face Charges
Woman shot; another stabbed to death amid slow response times
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Sep 5, 2013 4:07 AM CDT
Updated Sep 5, 2013 5:40 AM CDT
Detroit's new police chief James Craig speaks during a news conference in Detroit, Wednesday May 15, 2013. Craig plans to finish his job as Cincinnati chief and start in Detroit by July 1.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

(Newser) – Detroit 911 dispatchers were slow to send cops during two recent emergencies that ended in tragedy; now, police are mulling criminal charges for the dispatchers. Last week, a woman called 911 multiple times as an argument turned dangerous, her mother says. Police say there were six calls in total; it took more than an hour for the dispatcher to reassign cops to the case, though it was a "priority one" call, police chief James Craig says. As the woman waited on the porch for police, she was shot in the chest, her mother says.

She remains in the hospital. "I want the dispatchers to take their jobs more serious," her mother tells the Detroit Free Press. Separately, in May, a dispatcher reportedly took 90 minutes to direct police to a stabbing that resulted in a woman's death. Slow police response times for "priority one" calls are, unfortunately, nothing new in Detroit, as Boston's mayor less than subtly pointed out: They average about 58 minutes, says an emergencies official (though, police note, "priority one" doesn't always mean a life is in danger; such situations often have quicker response times, officials say). Still, "status quo, complacency, mediocrity will not be tolerated," says Craig.

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Showing 3 of 21 comments
jeff44663
Jul 14, 2014 8:09 PM CDT
As a former 9-1-1 call taker and police dispatcher, I can attest to the helpless feeling of working on a busy Saturday night, getting all these "hot" priority-one calls...and literally having no one available to send. It isn't always entirely the dispatcher's fault, though they end up taking the heat. Your resources can only spread so thin. Give the dispatchers more units and they'll do a better job.
CappieeCCappiee
Sep 6, 2013 12:08 PM CDT
And yet the police and "just-us" system gets so hostile when you have to take their jobs in ones own hands and defend yourself. Also, our police have become so hostile to the public when you ask them to do something that is deeply within their job-description, but not in their job-routine (such as diverting traffic around a wounded animal on the road a mile up from them when the cop is waiting at a speed trap.)
gomer99
Sep 5, 2013 11:42 AM CDT
"Hey; I'm a unionized public employee. If you don't like the way I do my job, fukk you"