Maddox wants audit of dispatch center after delay in Markel case

  • 0

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- While a dispatcher error is being blamed for a response delay in the July 18 shooting death of Florida State University Professor Dan Markel, Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox is now calling for an audit of the Consolidated Dispatch Agency to see if there are more widespread issues.

A neighbor called 911 after finding Markel bleeding in his car which was parked inn his garage. Investigators say they believe Markel was the intended target of a gunman who shot him one time in the head. Markel died the next day at a Tallahassee hospital. No arrests have been made.

The recently released 911 call made by a neighbor shows that it took nearly 15 minutes for police and 19 minutes for an ambulance to arrive at Markel's Betton Hills home on Trescott Drive. The same day the call was released, CDA Director Timothy Lee cited the delay on an error made by a dispatcher.

Lee told WTXL at the time that the dispatcher had placed a lower priority on the call than they should have.

"He (the dispatcher) missed the initial communication from the caller of Mr. Markel's perceived condition," Lee wrote in the Aug. 5 email, obtained by our media partners at the Tallahassee Democrat, to County Administrator Vince Long, City Manager Anita Favors Thompson and Sheriff Larry Campbell. "Specifically, he did not hear the caller reference a gunshot wound."

However in the 911 call the neighbor told the dispatcher: "I don't know if somebody tried to shoot him or if he shot himself, or what I don't know."

Maddox sent a letter this week (attached below) to City Auditor Bert Fletcher asking for an audit of the agency, asking specifically for a review of police and fire response times, outages in the CDA system, in addition to a review of CDA policies and procedures.

"It's disturbing that we had a response time and a life-threatening injury that took so long," Maddox told our media partners at the Tallahassee Democrat. "That combined with other problems at the CDA has led me to ask for an audit."

The $47.5 million Public Safety Complex, which houses the new Consolidated Dispatch Center, opened in September of last year in an effort, among others, to improve response time and efficiencies.

Our media partners at the Tallahassee Democrat report in the past nine months, the CDA has received more than 125,000 911 calls and more than 300,000 calls for service, according to Lee's email. The average response time for Leon County emergency responders was 8.7 minutes between September 2013 and April. The national average, Lee said last week, is between 7 and 12 minutes.

Tallahassee Democrat also reports this is not the first issue with the dispatch center's operations. Read more about that part of the story by clicking here.