CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has found it took half an hour to get Cleveland police to a woman found dead in the street under suspicious circumstances.

So, we investigated why it took so long.

At the heart of this case is your safety. We also found the same thing could happen on your next 911 call.

Last Sunday night, near East 68th and Harvard, a man called 911 saying he needed police and EMS for a woman in the street.

“Do they look like they’re breathing?” dispatch asked.

“No,” Jeffrey Coakwell answered.

“Girl was in the street. Large male was over the girl yelling to her,” he later told the I-Team.

Police radio recordings show a dispatcher made it a top priority call, saying, “I have a code one. Trouble unknown for a female that was in the middle of the street..”

However, records show Cleveland police didn’t get an officer until 31 minutes after that call came in to 911. Cleveland police had no officers to send.

“You have to hire more police. That’s simply it. There’s probably not enough,” Coakwell said.

We’ve reported many times on police short-staffing. Now, there was no one to send to a suspicious death.

Cleveland EMS got an ambulance to the scene in minutes.

Records show, during the wait for police, other first responders were also called in to police dispatch. One note refers to “extreme circumstances.” 

Police finally sent officers just coming on shift. Those officers were just getting out of roll call.

When those officers made it to the scene, they called for more patrol cars.

“I’m going to need a boss to respond out here. More cars. We have one female DOA,” you can hear one officer say.

We’ve asked Cleveland police to explain taking a half-hour to get to a call like that. As of late Friday, we had not received a specific answer to our inquiry.

Meanwhile, Cleveland Police Union President Jeff Follmer told the I-Team to get used to it. Nationwide and in Cleveland, police keep struggling to recruit new cops.

“There’s not much you can do about it. We only have so many people and we’re running short. We’re not going to kid ourselves. The city is very violent right now. You go from gun run to gun run to maybe somebody shot,” Follmer said.

What happened to the woman in this case is now under investigation.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office identifies her as 36-year-old Ashley L Knierim, of Cleveland. The medical examiner has not released a ruling on the cause of death.

This case shows a police delay is not so unusual anymore, even in the most serious cases.

“This is a particularly troublesome neighborhood. They’re getting a lot of calls around here,” Coakwell said.