What caller heard after 30 minutes on hold with 911

I-Team

CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has now obtained the recording showing what a woman heard after she called 911 in Cleveland and had to wait half an hour.

Earlier this week, the I-Team revealed the 30-minute 911 call.

Now, a recording just released to the I-Team sheds new light on how that happened on the night of July 4.
When Cleveland dispatch finally answered, a recording shows the caller said, “It took you all over thirty minutes to answer the phone. Somebody is in distress. What is going on?” 

Dispatch answered, “Fireworks. The Fourth of July. Everybody calls about fireworks, so it ties up our entire phone line. We have no control over that.”

The caller responded with, “Well, somebody should have some control over it.”

Kristen Allen made that call from the Shoreway after watching fireworks. She wanted to tell police about a woman she saw possibly getting kidnapped.

But, it took a half-hour to report that, so she turned to the I-Team to investigate.

The recording now released exposes more about the breakdown in the system you rely on in emergencies such as a possible attack.

Kristen Allen can be heard on the recording telling Cleveland dispatch, “But, he’s probably long gone ’cause I’ve been on hold for 33 minutes trying to get in contact with you all.” 

And, as she says that, the call taker can be heard talking over her saying, “It’s very busy.”

The woman had been on hold for dispatch listening to a recording that said, “You have reached the city of Cleveland police. Please do not hang up.”

The I-Team requested the full recording of the entire time Kristen Allen was on hold. The city did not give us the entire recording.

But, consider what we have uncovered about the timeline.

Cuyahoga County dispatch told us the 911 call came in at 10:35 p.m. Yet, county dispatch didn’t answer until 10:38. Three minutes later.

Then, the call got transferred to city dispatch. The recording shows the call didn’t get picked up there until 11:08. Thirty minutes later.

This week, Kristen Allen told the I-Team, “Something needs to be done. Something needs to be done, immediately. And someone needs to be held accountable.”

We’ve reported repeatedly on delays and snags in Cleveland dispatch.

In fact, Cuyahoga County recently took over handling all 911 calls made from cell phones because the city had struggled to meet state standards for answering those calls quickly.

The Cleveland Police union says the city has been very slow in hiring for open positions. Union President Jeff Follmer said he’s “terribly upset” with how that’s gone.

For this story, the city did not respond to specific questions about this call.

Kristen Allen had the final word with dispatch saying, “You all gotta do better…’cause this is ridiculous.”

As for the possible kidnapping, at one point the city dispatch told Allen the area she described was actually in Bratenahl, other people had called in about the incident, and Bratenahl police had been notified.

However, the only Bratenahl police report on the incident was developed when Kristen Allen also called there after she’d been on hold with Cleveland for half an hour.

That report shows no one was found when police, ultimately, checked the area.

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