WaPo: DC Council Needs to Examine 911 Operations

The Washington Post has called for DC City Council to conduct a review of the District’s 911 operations in the wake of a 911 call from a witness to Angelo Jones‘ shooting death.

The call, placed in the early morning hours of October 2, 2010, was part of the investigation into Jones’ death. It was made public as part of evidence at trial.

On the 911 recording, the witness and the operator go back and forth trying to determine the address for more than five minutes. Then, with the witness still on the phone asking for help, the shots ring out.

During conversation the caller gave the operator a total of six locations or landmarks, all within about a square mile of each other in Northeast DC. All were within a quarter mile of where Jones was found, but officers were not dispatched because the addresses the caller gave could not be verified by the operator’s computer system. The caller tried to impress upon the 911 operator the importance of the call, saying there were two people, one with a gun, one with a knife, and that an altercation was beginning. When he asks the operator again for help, she responds, “Sir, I’m not coming.”

In an editorial published today, The Washington Post said that the call shows “deadly indifference.”

Writes the Post:

This glaring instance of indifference, if not ineptitude, by the District’s emergency call center was recently revealed in D.C. Superior Court proceedings; while the administration reports that fixes have been made, it is important that the D.C. Council conduct its own review.

At a budget hearing yesterday for the Office of Unified Communications, which operates the District’s 911 operations, OUC Director Jennifer Greene said the operator heard on the call has been retrained and that system upgrades should make problems like the one recorded on the call less common.

Read the initial report, and listen to the call, here.

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