CLEVELAND-- The FOX 8 I-Team is investigating delays that affected the family of a baby shot to death and police searching for a killer.
The I-Team reviewed a 911 call from the people in the car that took gunfire that killed precious little Avielle Wakefield. The victims had to wait a minute and a half to talk to a Cleveland ambulance dispatcher.
Shortly after the shooting, officers called for a police chopper to help search for a possible suspect. But, we’ve learned it took well over an hour to get a police helicopter over the scene.
As for the 911 call, a recording shows a county dispatcher answered, then transferred the call to the city. First, there was silence. Then, the county dispatcher got back on for a moment. Then, there was ringing. And finally, a city EMS dispatcher could be heard.
Regarding a helicopter, police first had to call in a crew from home.
The Cleveland Police Union President points out, the police choppers mostly fly now for special events, plus a few other hours here and there. Years ago, the choppers flew much more often. But budget problems over the years have led to cutbacks.
Steve Loomis says, “We don’t have an hour and a half to get the helicopter in the air and where it needs to be when we have an active shooter situation. And every minute that thing stays on the ground, it puts all of us at risk.”
Dan Williams, a spokesman for the mayor, responded, “If we’re asking 'do we have enough?' I would say we never have enough.” Williams says the city is beginning a review of all police operations, equipment and staffing as part of a reform plan with the feds.
Williams also says what happened with the 911 call would have to be reviewed since there could be multiple factors affecting how that was handled.