Friday, May 15, 2009

I hate to have to do this but.......

it's been asked and I guess it's something I need to do. That is, go over once again what we believe went wrong in the CCSO 9-1-1 center the night Denise died.

There were 5 9-1-1 calls made the night Denise died. The first from Nathan reporting her missing. This one was handled fine. One by an eyewitness's daughter. This was handled very well with the call taker thanking the young woman and telling her "we're looking for this girl". The third by an eyewitness. We won't go there about the witness but we will say the call was handled appropriately. The fourth? Made by Denise herself! This one was handled exceptionally well. You can hear the call taker multi tasking and professional sounding as she's calling North Port to make them aware of the call. She's not rattled at all. All four were handled by Sarasota County or North Port call centers.

The fifth call handled by the CCSO was where things went wrong. Here's what we believe happened according to their own internal investigation.

  • Because the operator who monitors the BOLO's (Be On the Look Out's) went home early (to save paying overtime) the machine basically went unmonitored (in our opinion) and 3 critical BOLO's were either totally ignored or responded to late. The two dispatchers on duty were supposed to monitor the machine every 5-10 minutes and one testifies she did so. Sadly, there is no documentation supporting this. And the deputies in the field received no information on 3 of the BOLO's. So, from the time the first BOLO received from the North Port Police department at 4:58PM to after 6:30PM deputies from the CCSO testify they were NOT looking for a green Camaro. As late as 6:45PM one deputy testifies there were "no real leads". So we have Sarasota County, North Port, the FHP, the FDLE, Manatee County, DeSoto County and countless other agencies searching for a green Camaro but not the CCSO which is where she was last seen alive.
  • It took the CCSO near 2 hours to patch a radio to neighboring Sarasota County
  • At 6:30 an eyewitness to Denise's kidnapping called in and had the call taker on the line for 9 minutes giving cross streets as to where she was witnessing the abduction in real time. The call taker was clearly rattled. She put the caller on hold. She told the caller people are "hollering" at her. She clearly didn't know what to do. She kept asking somebody for instructions. The call taker did not enter crucial 9-1-1 call information immediately into her CAD system. She wrote it down and shouted it across the aisle. She testifies she shouted it to dispatcher A. Dispatcher A and B testify she shouted it to Dispatcher B. It was over 13 minutes after the initiation of the call before she entered anything into the CAD. Those 13 minutes IMO were pretty crucial minutes.
  • Total chaos. Total procedural breakdown.
  • After the crucial 9-1-1 call I just mentioned, no car was ever dispatched to the area. There were several CCSO cars in the area with deputies who testify they were sitting by their computers WAITING for information that never came. They were never dispatched
  • The CCSO never contacted North Port who had jurisdiction in Denise's case about the phone call which was made by the last person to see Denise alive. They would have denied the prosecution their best witness. Thank goodness the witness was persistant in being heard.
  • It wasn't until after Rick (Denise's dad) and another officer from CCSO listened to Denise's frantic 9-1-1 call that the CCSO was aware of a green Camaro. It is only after Denise's frantic call that a call is made to the dispatch center by the officer who was with Rick that the dispatch center realizes they had issues and missed the BOLO's. It was at that moment the sh!t hit the fan and they forgot to dispatch the car.

Again this is in their own Internal Investigations Report.

What's been fixed?

The only thing I'm sure of and this information is from Sarasota County is that the two counties are now working closer together.

The radios seem to be fixed. I learned this from the newspaper after a false alarm abduction a few weeks ago.

Is the call taker no longer writing things down and is she finally using the CAD appropriately? I don't know. She'd been reprimanded before. Hopefully considering a life was lost she is.

Is the machine that monitors the BOLO's being monitored 24/7? Don't know.

Sorry to sound so cold. I'm at work and I really don't want to break down in tears.

That's it in a nutshell. Sorry to have to go through it all again. But someone asked me to.