We’ve exposed many delays in a system you rely on when seconds count. So, we investigated the latest case.
A dispatcher with the highway patrol tried calling for an ambulance last month after an undercover federal agent shot and wounded a suspect. Yet, reviewing the recording we found that caller from the patrol got no answer for 3-minutes and 54 seconds.
The caller kept hearing a recording over and over, saying “You have reached the Cleveland Division of Police. Please do not hang up. All operators are currently handling other calls.”
You then hear the Highway Patrol caller say in frustration, “Come on.” And, later she says, “I’ve been on hold with CPD for three minutes.”
The shooting happened at East 82nd and Decker. The undercover agent radioed for help and called out, “Shots fired.”
Various law enforcement agencies hurried to the scene. And, officers decided to take the suspect who’d been shot to the hospital without waiting for an ambulance. They took him in a police car.
In recent months, the I-TEAM has exposed the Cleveland 911 center operating with short-staffing. At times, also falling short of state standards for answering 911 calls from cell phones. Taking too long. Cuyahoga County even recently started taking steps to change how those calls are handled.
Back to this call, we sent questions to City Hall. The mayor’s office says it is looking into this.
Meantime, the city has not released records of any other 911 calls from this incident right after the shooting.
And, when the patrol finally got through to Cleveland dispatch, she said, “I’m just advising you.
A suspect is being transported by CPD cruiser to the hospital. I was on hold for 5 minutes, so they just put him in a CPD cruiser.”
The suspect taken to the hospital that day is now back home. And Cleveland police are still investigating the circumstances of the shooting. A grand jury will decide if it was justified.
But, the recording reveals no answer when there was no time to wait.