During the post-murder investigation of Arlington (Tex.) Off. Jillian Michelle Smith, police officials discovered that a 911 calltaker and a radio dispatcher did not follow the proper procedures, thereby putting officers in jeopardy when they responded to the incident scene. Fire chief Don Crowson, whose department manages the city’s joint police-fire comm center, said the mistakes did not lead to or contribute to Smith’s death last December. But the errors were significantly dangerous. Dispatcher Joan Ware was fired today for not following proper procedures, and 911 calltaker Martha Kimball resigned earlier. Police chief Theron Bowman said dispatch procedures have been changed to send two officers to every report of a domestic assault, even if the suspect is reported to have left. In this case, a woman dialed 911 to report an assault by her boyfriend. She said the man had left in a car. Smith arrived and, police later learned, the boyfriend arrived within two minutes and quietly entered the apartment where Smith was talking to the victim. The boyfriend then became angry, shot and killed Smith, then chased his girlfriend to a bedroom and fatally shot her. The man then returned to Smith, took her gun and shot himself. The woman’s daughter was present, but escaped and ran to a neighbor for help. The neighbor dialed 911 while driving back the apartment, but couldn’t give an exact address. According to Bowman, the dispatchers failed to connect the shooting 911 call with Smith’s incident, failed to tell officers that the daughter had said an officer had been shot, and didn’t collect other caller and witness information. Read more about the incident and read the police crime report here.E-mail this story
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