911 Dispatcher Accused of Negligence Following Robbery Report


Police Dispatch Expert WitnessThis case involves an individual who called 911 to report a break-in at his neighbor’s apartment. He informed the dispatcher he would wait outside of the apartment building until police arrived, so that he could guide officers to the correct floor and apartment unit when they arrived at the scene. However, the dispatcher instructed officers to call the individual who made the report before moving to the scene, instead of indicating that a crime was in progress. In the time it took for the police to respond to the call, the individual was stabbed by the perpetrators when they attempted to flee the building. It was claimed that the dispatcher failed to follow proper protocol in reporting the incident to responding officers.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please describe your experience as a 911 call dispatcher.
  • 2. What is the correct protocol when a robbery in progress is reported?

Expert Witness Response E-127827

I began my career as 911 dispatcher in 1996, was later promoted to a Senior Dispatcher and in 2007 was appointed the E911 Coordinator/Director of my county’s 911 Center. I chair a regional 911 communications consortium and have attended hundreds of conferences and continuing education seminars. The correct protocol when a robbery is in progress is determined by the 911 call centers policy and procedure manual. The goal should be to carefully document all details of the call within the CAD system or call record, and dispatch the closest appropriate law enforcement agency(s) to the incident. In the case of a burglary in progress, as minimum two (2) police units should be sent for backup purposes. In the case above, the dispatcher should have narrated the correct time once he/she discovered the error during the call. However, a CAD system and recording system should independently time stamp logs and recordings therefore determining the correct timeline should be achievable. I have reviewed dozens of incidents as we prepare the documents and recordings for our DA’s office providing timeline and department protocol. This includes calls for law enforcement, fire incidents and investigations, and emergency medical calls.

Expert Witness Response E-071642

Expert-ID: E-071642

I’m a 20 year retired veteran from the NYPD. I’ve worked in a multitude of assignments in the NYPD such as Lieutenant in the Internal Affairs Bureau investigating police misconduct, Sergeant in the NYPD Police Academy training police recruits on police tactics and procedures, and Detective Investigator. I’ve investigated many cases as a Lieutenant in The NYPD Internal affairs bureau consisting of 911 operators negligence. The correct protocol for a 911 operator during a robbery in progress is to sound an alarm over the police division radio. This alerts officers on that particular channel that an in progress assignment is occurring. The robbery in progress now elevates to what we refer to as a priority status. When I was a Lieutenant in the Internal Affairs Bureau I had similar cases where a 911 operator failed to elevate the priority level of the assignment which resulted in death or injury to civilians. I’ve disciplined 911 operators for this type of conduct in the past.

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