I TEAM: Discipline for slow police response to shootout in streets

CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I TEAM has uncovered the fallout after it took Cleveland Police more than half an hour to get to a shootout in the streets that even sent gunfire into a school.

A sergeant and a dispatcher both have been punished after an internal investigation.

The shootout happened in broad daylight last November along East 131st Street. A corner store’s security video shows guys with guns shooting from two moving vehicles. Bullets even went into a school building across the street. The I TEAM found a patrol car didn’t get there for more than half an hour.

Police radio tapes showed a dispatcher broadcasting she had no cars to send.

Now, a sergeant and that dispatcher have each been suspended one day. An internal investigation found they should have called a car off from handling a less serious matter, or they should have called a car off of a special assignment.

The union for the supervisor says the sergeant is taking some responsibility. He admitted he should have found some way to get police there more quickly. However, the union for the dispatcher is appealing that suspension. Steve Loomis claims short-staffing causes delays every day getting police even to top priority calls. Loomis told us earlier, “There's not a cop out there that wouldn't have wanted to catch these guys.”

As we followed up on this we met Fred Hall. He showed us where he recently got shot in the leg. He and others told us, no matter how the wild shootout was handled, they’d like to see more police patrols. Hall said, "Because this is getting out of control."

Earlier, the I TEAM found, during the time when police didn’t have a car to send to the shootout, duty reports showed one officer following up on a violent robbery, another responding to a man threatening with a gun, and, for example, another at a hospital. But we also found others out on calls for a suspicious vehicle, a stolen car, and an alarm.

While the city has promised to hire more police officers this year, we’re watching to see what impact, if any, it has on the number of patrol cars on your streets.

More on 911 call delays, here.