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Dispatcher's Instructions Led To Caller's Death

Date: 2012-04-04
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Police in Denver (CO.) are investigating the handling of a 9-1-1 call from a road rage victim, during which a dispatcher told the man to return to the city for an officer to take a report, and which ended in the man’s death. A report posted by the Denver Post indicated that officials of the city’s 9-1-1 center say the dispatcher should not have required Jimma Reat, 24, to return to Denver from his apartment in adjacent Wheat Ridge, where he dialed 9-1-1.  It is unclear from news accounts, reported 911 Dispatch Magazine in their coverage of the incident, if the dispatcher told Reat to return to the scene of the incident, or simply to any location in Denver. However, Reat did reluctantly agree to return to Denver, and arrived near the area where the original incident occurred. While they waited, a Jeep that had been involved in the earlier incident appeared and someone opened fire, killing Reat.

"The call transpired very quickly," said Carl Simpson, executive director of Denver 9-1-1. "It got sideways very quickly. I am deeply saddened by the events that transpired. This call left me very saddened for the family."  Of the operator, Simpson said: "I do know he didn't follow procedures."

In a story posted online at ABC News, Ernie Franssen, the Denver 9-1-1 operations manager, said that "We're absolutely apologetic for the circumstances of the call.  We want to give due diligence to the employee and make sure that we did or didn't follow the policies as they are written, and we want to take a look and listen to it ourselves and be able to speak to the employee."

Franssen also told ABC News today that the department would be looking at its own policies for these types of 9-1-1 calls.  "We have policies that say we could have responded outside of Denver or could have involved another jurisdiction," Franssen said."Some policies were not followed. There were a number of policies that were followed."

Read full story in the Denver Post here
Read full story from ABC News at Yahoo here
Read the 911 Dispatch Magazine story here
Read an updated (4/8/12) online report on dispatcher training standards in Denver from Denver Post here

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