Detroit's Pokey 911 Dispatchers May Face Charges

Woman shot; another stabbed to death amid slow response times

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 5, 2013 4:07 AM CDT | Updated Sep 5, 2013 5:40 AM CDT

(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.

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)
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