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911 dispatchers' slow response times cause crisis in Delaware County

Delaware County commissioners examine incidents where several people, including three children, have died in the past nine months.
BY SHEILA STOGSDILL Published: June 26, 2013

— In a packed Delaware County commissioners' meeting on Tuesday, several residents expressed outrage over slow response times and inadequate training by 911 dispatchers in incidents where several people, including three children, have died in the past nine months.

“We have a problem with slow response times,” said Danny Duncan, county commissioner for District 3. “This county is going to come up with a solution.”

“In the past 12 to 18 months, things are going downhill instead of making strides,” said Cindy Hazelwood, a Jay Police Department dispatcher.

The national average for rescue units to be “toned out” is 60 seconds or less, she said.

Toned out means fire, ambulance and Emergency Medical Services units are notified about an accident.

Most of Tuesday's firestorm centered on the drowning death of 7-year-old Kaitlynn Garcia.

Garcia drowned at the Eucha State Park pool on June 15.

Since the child's drowning, Sheriff Harlan Moore asked District Attorney Eddie Wyant for an outside independent investigation into the incident surrounding the 911 call.

During the nearly six-minute 911 call, the dispatcher is overheard making several mistakes, including misdialing the telephone number for the Jay Police Department and the location of the pool.

Nearly four minutes pass before the dispatcher is able to reach the Jay Police Department, according to a Jay Police Department radio log.

“How many children do we have to lose?” said Bobbi Parris, a Delaware County resident.

“The dispatcher could have went outside and yelled for help at the Jay Police Department, and it would have been faster,” Parris said.

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