Denver Dispatcher Quits After 911 Caller Is Killed
DENVER (AP) — A Denver police dispatcher has resigned after failing to relay key information to officers responding to a woman who was killed 12 minutes into a 911 call.
Police have said the dispatcher had information — including that the woman’s husband was getting a gun from a safe — that should have been given to responding officers, who were consequently unaware of the possibility of escalating violence.
Denver officials began the process of firing the dispatcher on Friday, but they later accepted her request to resign instead, safety department spokeswoman Daelene Mix said Monday. Mix did not release the dispatcher’s name.
Earlier Monday, Mix said city officials fired the dispatcher.
Police have said Kristine Kirk, 44, pleaded in the April 14 call for authorities to hurry and send officers because her husband had asked her to get a gun and shoot him. She said Richard Kirk, 47, was hallucinating and talking about the end of the world after having marijuana-infused candy and possibly pain pills, according to police reports.
As the call continued, Kristine Kirk frantically told a 911 call-taker that her husband was getting a gun from a safe. Within a few seconds, the call-taker could hear her screaming. There was a single gunshot before the line went quiet.
Police have said the dispatcher did not relay those and other critical details to responding officers, who were unaware of them before they arrived. The 911 call-taker entered notes about them into a computer, but the dispatcher, who passes information along to officers, never aired the details over the radio. She gave them initial information about the call, but she failed to update them for 13 minutes about the rising threat of violence, police said.
A summary of an internal investigation says a Denver officer was less than a mile from the home, but he did not head there for eight minutes. Police have said he would have left sooner had he known the gravity of the situation. The incident prompted changes in departmental policy.
Richard Kirk, 47, has been charged with first-degree murder. He has not yet entered a plea.
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