I-Team video: See what led to EMS delay with officer down

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CLEVELAND- The FOX 8 I-Team has obtained exclusive video showing what happened leading to a call for an officer down and an unusually long wait for an ambulance. And Cleveland EMS is now explaining the wait.

We revealed earlier, a Cleveland patrolman got hurt, and police waited for an ambulance for more than 16 minutes.

Police body camera video just released to the I-Team shows it all began during a struggle with a suspect outside an apartment on Lakeshore. A woman called about domestic trouble, and the video shows as officers arrived, a man immediately confronted them.

After police subdued the suspect, they noticed one officer not responding. They can be heard saying, “You alright?” And, “Ambulance is coming.”

Radio tapes showed, from the time police first called for an ambulance, to the time they announced it had arrived, the wait was 16 minutes 26 seconds.

Now, Cleveland EMS is answering questions about the wait.

Commander Christopher Chapin said, “This was higher than we like it to be and more than our normal average.”

Chapin says an ambulance nearby got sent to a life and death call one minute before the incident with the police officer. The next closest unit was miles away. EMS says it had a typical number of ambulances on the street, but that night happened to be particularly busy.

Chapin added, “Looking back, all the rules and regulations were followed. The call takers, dispatchers, all acted appropriately.”

Cleveland EMS says the target for getting an ambulance to a top priority call is under nine minutes. Again, radio tapes show, in this case, 16 minutes.

And, in case you’re wondering, ambulance calls for police don’t automatically get any special response.

Also, a fire crew took much longer than usual to get to the officer for basic medical help. Again, the blame going to other emergencies.

In the end, the officer did get to a hospital. And we’re told, he recovered.

But the video helps show the story behind the delay with an officer down.

EMS says it has added more ambulances to the streets since a tax increase approved by voters. And that has helped reduce the average response time for all calls. Though again, multiple sources say, at times, EMS still struggles to keep up with the calls coming in.

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