911 Dispatcher Disciplined Over Woman’s Shooting Death
DENVER (CBS4) – The dispatcher involved in a 911 call that ended with a woman shot to death allegedly by her husband is being disciplined.
“The director of communications felt like there was enough of an issue to begin a proceeding,” said Denver Police Dept. Lt. Matt Murray.
Kristine Kirk called for help, saying her husband, Richard Kirk, was hallucinating. At one point during the call she said he had gotten a gun. She told them she was scared of what he might do and eventually was shot while on the phone with 911.
Officers found Kristine Kirk dead when they arrived 12 minutes after she made the call.
“Officers were not given verbal information as they were responding to the scene,” said Murray.
According to a Denver Police report, a lack of communication between the dispatcher and officers during that emergency call may have led to her death. The report is a page and a half long and states the response from patrol officers was reasonable and appropriate.
It also holds the dispatcher at fault for failing to update responding officers of a changing situation. The dispatcher has been on paid leave since the incident and will face disciplinary action.
According to the report 13 minutes had passed before an officer arrived on scene and was able to read written notes from the dispatcher.
“Even if those updates were coming on a computer screen it would not be appropriate for officers to get information in that way. That’s one of the changes the executive director made to require that those changes be made verbally,” said Murray.
Police would not speculate whether a higher level of response would have saved Kristine Kirk, but an internal review of the case caused police to change how they respond to emergency calls where danger is imminent.
“It might surprise people to know that prior to the change, a domestic violence call did not require lights and sirens,” said Murray.
Kristine Kirk’s husband, Richard Kirk, is facing first-degree murder charges.
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