Police: dispatcher tried to cover up delay, should be fired
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- The Miami Beach Police Department is recommending the termination of a dispatcher for delaying a call to fire rescue and covering up that 14-minute delay to the home of a man who would end up dying from health complications.
A 911 dispatcher called fire rescue 14 minutes after a woman called 911 saying her husband had fallen ill, police said. Rescue arrived at their Venetian Islands home 31 minutes after the call.
According to the man's wife, On March 5, Miami Beach Fire Rescue arrived at her home over a half hour after she had called 911. Miami Beach Police are accusing the 911 dispatcher of failing to call the rescue on time. When fire rescue crews arrived to the scene, the 65-year-old man who suffered of heart problems, had passed away.
The following is a transcription of the 911 call:
Wife: "My husband fell yesterday. Thought he was OK, he can't move out of bed, and I just left for five minutes, and now he's on the floor, and he can't move.
911 dispatcher: "He's not able to move, and he fell on the floor again?"
911 dispatcher: "OK, How old is he?"
Wife: "He's 65."
911 dispatcher: "65-years-old. OK. Is he conscious ? Is he alert?"
Wife: "Oh, yes. He is conscious and alert."
911 dispatcher: "OK, and how is his breathing? Is he short of breath or is he breathing normal? How long ago did this happen?"
Wife: "He fell within the last 20 minutes."
Miami Beach Police investigators said that after the 911 operator receives the call, a fire rescue dispatcher identified as Damian Janee entered the call into the computer system but waited 14 minutes before verbally telling the rescue unit to respond to the call.
Miami Beach Police Department Chief Raymond Martinez headed the investigation into the fire rescue delay. He said, "He never gets on the radio to verbalize, that dispatcher never raises Rescue 22 and actually dispatches him to the call. It wasn't until 14 minutes later, when he finally raises Rescue 22 and dispatches him to the call. We don't know why and he [dispatcher] did not have an answer as to why that call sat for 14 minutes."
The police department , which oversees the 911 call center, said it was not until 9:26 that the dispatcher raises Rescue 22 and dispatches them to the call, and at 9:27, the dispatcher entered a note into the computer system stating that rescue had been en-route since 9:13. "Obviously, that's a falsification. It's what we feel was an attempt to cover up his neglect to dispatch the call," said Martinez.
The coverup, according to Martinez, was the most distressing finding in his investigation. "The most egregious thing was, obviously, going into the system after the fact to try to mask or hide or falsify the records," he said.
Miami Beach Police said their computer system that dispatches Rescue 22 is and was working properly.
Police said the dispatcher has been reprimanded in the past. He has a hearing set for May 7 where he can appeal the department's decision.
(Copyright 2013 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)