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Home > Topics > Dispatcher

Colo. dispatcher quits after 911 caller is killed

The dispatcher had information, including that the woman's husband was getting a gun from a safe, that should have been given to responding officers

The Associated Press

DENVER — A Denver police dispatcher has resigned after failing to relay key information to officers responding to a woman who was killed 12 minutes into a 911 call.

Police have said the dispatcher had information — including that the woman's husband was getting a gun from a safe — that should have been given to responding officers, who were consequently unaware of the possibility of escalating violence.

Denver officials began the process of firing the dispatcher on Friday, but they later accepted her request to resign instead, safety department spokeswoman Daelene Mix said Monday. Mix did not release the dispatcher's name.

Earlier Monday, Mix said city officials fired the dispatcher.

Police have said Kristine Kirk, 44, pleaded in the April 14 call for authorities to hurry and send officers because her husband had asked her to get a gun and shoot him. She said Richard Kirk, 47, was hallucinating and talking about the end of the world after having marijuana-infused candy and possibly pain pills, according to police reports.

As the call continued, Kristine Kirk frantically told a 911 call-taker that her husband was getting a gun from a safe. Within a few seconds, the call-taker could hear her screaming. There was a single gunshot before the line went quiet.

Police have said the dispatcher did not relay those and other critical details to responding officers, who were unaware of them before they arrived. The 911 call-taker entered notes about them into a computer, but the dispatcher, who passes information along to officers, never aired the details over the radio. She gave them initial information about the call, but she failed to update them for 13 minutes about the rising threat of violence, police said.

A summary of an internal investigation says a Denver officer was less than a mile from the home, but he did not head there for eight minutes. Police have said he would have left sooner had he known the gravity of the situation. The incident prompted changes in departmental policy.

Associated PressCopyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Richard Kirk, 47, has been charged with first-degree murder. He has not yet entered a plea.

Comments
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Renee Breen Tierno Renee Breen Tierno Wednesday, June 11, 2014 1:10:08 PM Asinine..
Tamara Reed Valencia Tamara Reed Valencia Wednesday, June 11, 2014 1:20:39 PM SERIOUSLY?! They ALLOWED her to resign?!? She didn't do her job and got someone killed!!!! She SURE AS HELL SHOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED THEN AND THERE!!! WTF KIND OF STUPIDITY IS THAT?!?!?
Timothy Mason Timothy Mason Wednesday, June 11, 2014 1:24:54 PM When seconds count, the police aren't actually coming...
Christina Hawley Christina Hawley Wednesday, June 11, 2014 1:34:56 PM Now she can't file for unemployment.
Jim May Jim May Wednesday, June 11, 2014 1:35:57 PM And what happened to the officer that waited 8 minutes to answer the call. It appears both the dispatcher and the officer were in the wrong.
Frank Hasenflue Frank Hasenflue Wednesday, June 11, 2014 1:56:51 PM the cops should have responded ASAP and not sat around for eight minutes!!! i hope that asswipe sleeps real good at nite!!!!!
Terry Moody Terry Moody Wednesday, June 11, 2014 1:57:54 PM There should be a police officer dispatching. If that were the case the dispatcher would never have been fired. As much as I am reading lately about how the police beat and kill people destroy their houses and just walk away. Nothing done to them. I know a lot of police around me and the ones I know are good officers.
Kyle Beard Kyle Beard Wednesday, June 11, 2014 2:03:26 PM When seconds count we will be there in minutes..
Vickie White Vickie White Wednesday, June 11, 2014 2:06:13 PM Do you really think that the police could have stopped the shooting. Think about it. The guy was hallucinating on DRUGS!!!!!. The officer could have had his life ended also.......Too much violence in this world
Roland Prins Roland Prins Wednesday, June 11, 2014 2:37:39 PM Don't mean you only get certain information you should take your own sweet time. What if it was a fire and the fire department took their own time to respond when you have to go you should try and be there before someone report an incident but try and do it safely but then again it wasn't someone they knew so it can wait until I feel I should get going that is the mentality of police almost everywhere
Melissa White Melissa White Wednesday, June 11, 2014 2:46:13 PM I think cops don't respond soon enough..I was in a small co and needed a police report and it took a cop 2 hours to respond..they should respond as soon as they are called...and don't try to tell me what happens when they get a call..I know..not all do it but most of them won't respond to a deer vs vehicle ..for 2 hours but if wreck with injuries or some other emergency arises 15 cops will show..
Patty Felcher Patty Felcher Wednesday, June 11, 2014 2:56:30 PM Having dispatched for almost 30 years when I first read about and then heard the call I was and I still am disgusted by the dispatcher. If she didn't know how to do her job at keeping up with the updates by the call taker she had no business behind the mike. As for the officer sure the hell hope he gets some kind of reprimand. Only a mile away and he didn't kick it in the ass on a domestic call. Who the hell trained him. He's just as guilty as the dispatchet.
Jennifer Sharpe Jennifer Sharpe Wednesday, June 11, 2014 4:47:45 PM The police officer should be dismissed as well what was he wait for a golden invitation....8 minutes to start to respond to a domestic dispute
Candi Wilton Candi Wilton Wednesday, June 11, 2014 5:34:21 PM The officer sat on the call for 8 minutes ? Did the initial information include the husband was hallucinating and asking the wife to get a gun and shoot him ? If so why would the officer, that was just a mile away sit on the call for 8 minutes ? That 8 minute time delay is as much if not more a factor in this woman's death then the lack of updated information.
Roland Prins Roland Prins Wednesday, June 11, 2014 6:24:35 PM The reason I bash them is if I don't do my job to the best of my abilities why am I doing it in the first place and if it was me I would find out more info or ask for more info and if I was busy at that moment I would ask if there is anyone closer or who can go so long hence the reason you can't be in two places at the same time and would you want to wait for someone to finish his or her own thing or would you like the fastest help possible and I would feel ashamed to proudly say I am this or that if I take my time to go to any incident I think of any incident as what if it is my family that is to every incident and treat everyone like I would treat my mother so yes I would bash anyone with a badge if they don't do the job of that badge to the best of their ability
John Overton Lewis III John Overton Lewis III Wednesday, June 11, 2014 6:24:54 PM I don't get what was not relayed that delayed officer response time. A woman calls in a distress call and states get husband is asking her to shoot him. There is a gun involved. Autimatic lights and sirens. Even if it was downplayed as a domestic disturbance there is a violent offense occurring against another. It sounds like the system as a whole failed. In situations of possible violence, I don't think officers should get to pick and choose when they get to be in a rush.
Roland Prins Roland Prins Wednesday, June 11, 2014 6:33:53 PM And remember it takes a few seconds for a situation to escalate so if you get the address of where they need you you can go you can still get more information on route to the incident and a badge means putting everyone in need infront of your own life that's why police has a motto to serve and protect and firefighters to preserve life property and perform humanitarian aid
Phillip Jones Phillip Jones Wednesday, June 11, 2014 6:43:59 PM well he had to finish his doughnuts and coffee
Roland Prins Roland Prins Wednesday, June 11, 2014 7:01:33 PM My pal where I work is very busy and we don't even get enough time to educate these people in this impoverished communities it's more fixing what we can and give a bit of knowledge to the public and communication here between dispatchers is at least 30% of the time correct so I know how radio traffic is working mostly understaffed on a miniscule budget with mostly half of the equipment we need with a lot of corrupt officials you would be surprised at how we improvise on just getting to where we supposed to be and still have to put up with dispatchers who don't even know where you are going on a map think coming on a ride along with me will be more of a nightmare you can even Google how much we have to endure in South Africa
Tanya E Marcano Tanya E Marcano Wednesday, June 11, 2014 7:39:13 PM It still shouldn't have taken 8 minutes to respond....in my city we have 8 min to GET to the call...
Lauren Marie Lauren Marie Wednesday, June 11, 2014 10:38:59 PM Unfortunately we don't know what actually happened. He may have been on a higher priority call. If it was just called in as a "domestic", there would have been no real reason for the officer to haul ass over there especially if it was a house that has had issues before. The dispatcher needed to relay the fact that there was a weapon involved and it would be become the highest priority call and any available officer would have headed there.
Lauren Marie Lauren Marie Wednesday, June 11, 2014 10:39:58 PM Unfortunately we don't know what actually happened. He may have been on a higher priority call. If it was just called in as a "domestic", there would have been no real reason for the officer to haul ass over there especially if it was a house that has had issues before. The dispatcher needed to relay the fact that there was a weapon involved and it would be become the highest priority call and any available officer would have headed there.
Gloria Jacobo Gloria Jacobo Thursday, June 12, 2014 1:48:41 AM So the wife knows her husband is acting crazy and she stays in the house anyway! Your blaming the cop but if you read the article she was already dead when the information was given to the officer. The dispatcher didnt disclose about the gun which could have been used on anyone responding to the call. Why dont you read before blaming an officer.
Kelly Cannon Kelly Cannon Thursday, June 12, 2014 4:56:57 AM Being in emergency services, I have ALWAYS said, "Respond to EVERY call the same, EVERY time." Most civilians don't even know how to properly relay information to the dispatchers and when a dispatcher also doesn't properly relay information, it's bad for everyone. The officer didn't leave for 8 minutes because it was one of those notorious calls. You can't say you haven't done it too... Dispatch: Squad 00, respond to......for a suicidal subject... Squad 00: squad 00 clear And then you say to your partner, "Here we go again..." with a sarcastic attitude. We've all done it. The officer here did nothing out of the normal routine. The problem is that the normal routine needs some adjustments. This is a very tragic situation and God rest her soul.
Frank Hasenflue Frank Hasenflue Thursday, June 12, 2014 7:07:38 AM Lauren Marie The officer did not do his job PERIOD,he sat around for 8 minutes with his finger up his ass!!!,way to go officer asswipe...to protect and serve,what a joke!!!!!
Kyle M Cashel Kyle M Cashel Thursday, June 12, 2014 8:10:15 AM I don't understand why everyone is pointing fingers at the officer on this. With the initial information, it said the husband wanted his wife to get a gun and shoot him. He wanted to be killed, but was not reported as being violent toward his wife. How do any of you know what else that officer may have been on before responding for those eight minutes? This does not say that he was finishing his coffee for that amount of time. Maybe he was following up on a lead for a wanted felon. Who knows? Please don't assume he was just wasting time.
Lauren Marie Lauren Marie Thursday, June 12, 2014 9:06:16 AM What is a joke is the fact that you're assuming that he wasn't doing anything and judging someone that you don't even know. The cop isn't the ass wipehere. As someone who appears to be a volunteer firefighter or at least involved in the fire company in some way, you'd think that you'd lean towards being on the side of a fellow EMS provider and reserving judgement since you don't know what happened.
Stacy Lee Mullen Stacy Lee Mullen Thursday, June 12, 2014 9:19:19 AM Having worked the street, And now A 911 Dispatcher this is sad but as is The case in our World it was a chain of events ..... Sad
Lana Sue Poteet Lana Sue Poteet Thursday, June 12, 2014 11:17:47 AM People must be responsible for our actions, including the man who chose take the substance that alters his mind and behavior. He is responsible
Ivette Fernandez Ivette Fernandez Thursday, June 12, 2014 3:03:47 PM I am disgusted by the details surrounding this story. Because of this dispatcher's incompetence someone lost their life. I agree the Officer should have responded sooner than he did but if he didn't have all the details he may not have known that he needed to respond immediately. Had the weapon been reported over the radio, I am sure the Officer would have responded immediately. I think the dispatcher is completely responsible for the end results.
Gale Hobbs Gale Hobbs Thursday, June 12, 2014 4:04:12 PM If the officer was told there was an armed hostage taker, they might have rushed to the scene, but they would have staged. I doubt the shoot could have been stopped.
Candi Wilton Candi Wilton Thursday, June 12, 2014 5:16:26 PM Kyle you must have missed this part ".A summary of an internal investigation says a Denver officer was less than a mile from the home, but he did not head there for eight minutes. Police have said he would have left sooner had he known the gravity of the situation. The incident prompted changes in departmental policy."
Rich Benton Rich Benton Thursday, June 12, 2014 6:55:31 PM Kyle I'm with you 100% on this one buddy. Being in EMS for 20 years until you have the complete call details, play by play radio traffic as well as the status of all available and unavailable units only then can accurate failures be identified. There are missing variables in this story so we cannot just place blame on the officer that was "a mile away" until we know more.
Kevin M Feen Kevin M Feen Thursday, June 12, 2014 7:50:48 PM This makes me sick. Both as a dispatcher, FF/EMTP and hopefully soon to be a Cop. OMG
David Farmer David Farmer Thursday, June 12, 2014 8:42:50 PM The officer might've been on another call
Kathy Forsyth Landers Kathy Forsyth Landers Friday, June 13, 2014 1:29:32 PM Frank Hasenflue Wow!! You must be psychic or something! You know what that officer was doing??? That is amazing! You should be on TV or something!!!!!

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