Emergency call response under investigation

November 9, 2009 8:32:37 PM PST
Authorities are trying to determine why a 911 dispatcher didn't do more with the first call that came from the house where Billy Maxwell Jr. killed his family then himself.ABC11 Eyewitness News has learned that the enhanced 911 call allowed the operator to see the home's address and a patrol call could have been dispatched.

Two 911 calls were made from the Maxwell's house on West Park Drive last week.

Authorities say a mysterious 911 call came from the house at 6:38 p.m. There was some groaning heard on the call, a pop that sounded like a gunshot and then the call hung up.

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The call came from a house phone and even though it was considered an abandon 911 call, the operator should have followed call center protocol.

"The first thing they do is they check for a call history to see if there's some type ... if it would give us some evidence of maybe medical issues there or maybe domestics," 911 Center Supervisor Capt. Brad Chandler said. "The second they do a call back to the residence and then we'll try several times if we don't even get a first time."

Sources say the operator did return the call, but the line was busy. A second call back was picked up by an answering machine.

"And then of course it's put into the system and it's a priority four, which gives us 20 minutes to dispatch or to notify somebody," Chandler said.

Police Chief Tom Bergamine says the 911 call center is a busy place, but he hopes to find out why that call was handled the way it was.

"Absolutely, we're very busy," Bergamine said. "Last year we did well over 215,000 calls per year. We're projected to probably do at least 230,000 to 240,000 this year."

The police chief says he isn't sure how long it's going to take to complete the investigation into the 911 center, but he says even at its completion he may not be able to share much with us because it may a personnel matter.

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