Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Unbelievable! I think I'm going to be sick. Read on...

Definitely check out the video on the story. Incredible. It's an all too familiar story. These stories just have to stop. Please, write your legislations and demand mandatory certification for 9-1-1 call takers.


Aurora reprimands 911 dispatcher for call

Written by: Brian Maass
July 27, 2009

The city of Aurora has given a written reprimand to a 911 dispatcher involved in a botched call three months ago. Due to systems failures and human error, dispatcher Jeanette Price sent rescuers miles out of their way as they tried to help an elderly woman who was short of breath.

A CBS4 investigation has learned it was the second such discipline for Price for a mishandled 911 call.

Sandra Lowman, 64, died and the city of Aurora has conceded that dispatching errors may have tripled the response time.

"I think that's way off," said Robert Lowman, the woman's son, when he learned of the mild discipline. "I'm not asking for her to lose her job, but she doesn't need to be doing that job. These are life-and-death things and if she can't do that job well and perform, she shouldn't have it. For me and my family and those in my community, we deserve better."

Price did not return multiple calls from CBS4, nor did she respond to a letter sent to her home address.

The city of Aurora gave Price the same discipline -- a written reprimand -- following a 2001 call to 911 in which she argued with callers about the need for a police response.

On July 20, 2001, Price fielded a 911 call from a man reporting an apparent abduction at an Aurora strip mall. He said a man leaped into a woman's car and appeared to be carjacking her.

The caller said, "She took off squealing, I don't think she knows him," as he described the incident.

"If they come back just give us a call and let us know, okay?" responded Price.

"Would you like the car description?" asked the caller.

Price responded, "They're not fighting, they're not yelling, they're nothing."

"He jumped through her window," the caller said.

"So they may have just been playing around," Price responded.

A few minutes later, the victim's mother called in about the same incident and Price answered.

"And how do you know she was carjacked?" Price challenged the caller. "She was not fighting, screaming, did not ask for help; nothing."

The mother told Price the victim's boyfriend had been stalking her. Price's response: "A lot of times they end up making back up together, they end up making up."

Price ultimately categorized the call as non-emergency. Officers on the low priority call arrived 35 minutes later. By then Le Thu Nguyen and her abductor were long gone.

The next day, Nguyen was found dead. Her boyfriend, Omar Green, was convicted of her strangulation murder. Nguyen's family sued Aurora and Jeanette Price over the handling of the 911 call and agreed to a $150,000 out-of-court settlement with the city.

Aurora City Attorney Charlie Richardson defended the latest written reprimand for Price saying it was appropriate discipline given all the facts surrounding the Sandra Lowman case. Richardson explained it was appropriate partly because Price had successfully handled "thousands" of 911 calls since the 2001 incident.

But Jason Jordan, an attorney representing the Lowman family, expressed surprise that Price has received comparatively mild discipline for such serious incidents.

"It is our position that incident alone (2001) should have resulted in her losing her position," Jordan said.

Jordan called it "deplorable" that Price received only a written rebuke for the May incident.

CBS4 has also uncovered a strange call Price made to 911 from her own home. Watch the video clip to hear part of the more than 10 minute long conversation with Arapahoe County dispatchers.