I-Team: Why was an ambulance delayed for officer down?

CLEVELAND-- The FOX 8 I-Team is investigating why it took so long to get an ambulance to a Cleveland police officer hurt during an arrest that turned violent.

The I-Team reviewed dispatch tapes. They showed more than 16 minutes passed from the moment police called for an ambulance to when police mentioned EMS had arrived.

It happened last month during a domestic call near the Cleveland-Euclid border. The radio chatter shows officers calling in and saying, "We need EMS here."

"Tell EMS to speed it up."

"EMS, bring a stretcher up here."

They kept waiting to hear the ambulance siren.

At one point a dispatcher can be heard asking, "What are we responding for?” A patrolman answered, “We have an officer who's injured. He's conscious and breathing, but in and out. Need ‘em to step it up.”

So the I-Team started asking questions. This comes even as the city has been making a push for years to put more ambulances on your streets night and day, and working to cut down on response times.

In this case, a fire crew didn’t even arrive for basic medical help for 10 and a half minutes.
All this happened late on a Sunday night, which is not a peak time for calls.

Cleveland City Hall all did not have an immediate explanation for us. A spokesman said the EMS commissioner is looking into how this call was handled.

Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association, said he’s waiting for that explanation.

The target for ambulance response to top priority calls in Cleveland now is as low as 6 to 7 minutes.

We’ve learned, the officer hurt in this case suffered head injuries related to a concussion.

The suspect arrested also suffered injuries, so police also called for a second ambulance to the same scene.

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