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Madison Police messes up again?


jaybird2001wi

If things were getting back normal and respectability to the Madison Police Department after the Audrey Seiler fiasco a few years ago, they were dealt with another blow today following reports that a 911 dispatcher did not send a Police car to the scene of a recent homicide involving UW-Madison student Brittany Zimmermann.

Madison Police surely has their hands full right now. They have three unsolved homicides within the last year (although it may be a Dane County Sheriff's case in Kelly Nolan's now) and they just can never seem to get a good edge on anything. What is going on with the Madison Police Dept? Lack of communication or are they not used to these type of cases? Will they ever seek out FBI assistance in solving these crimes?

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Maybe they should call the Milwaukee PD who have one of the best murder solve rates in the country. I do find it disturbing that this had to happen. I listened to the Madison 911 guy today and he was a complete ****** to the media. They were asking simple questions and he was very defensive. If your department messed up you might as well cop to it. Heads will roll regardless.
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If things were getting back normal and respectability to the Madison Police Department after the Audrey Seiler fiasco a few years ago

 

How is the Seiler thing the fault of Madison Police? I'm missing your point, I think?

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Dane County 911 services are provided by Dane County employees, not Madison Police Department employees. Just saying.

I thought that might be the case but wasn't sure. The department is still dependent on them. My overall comment was against the 911 people especially the guy in charge.

 

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Dane County 911 services are provided by Dane County employees, not Madison Police Department employees.

 

I heard that today as well- Is this common in larger cities? Are the 911 employees different from the dispatchers?

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Well, I am just saying that from a "National news" perspective.... this does not bode well for the Madison Police Department. Its been a tough few years for Chief Noble Wray to try to keep the Madison Police respectable and helpful in any way necessary to citizen needs. I would think some National media may point the finger squarely at Madison Police, as with all cases, to increase the "sensationalism" (see: Nancy Grace).
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What Peavey said about the Seiler case. They did a fine job of quickly figuring out what happened. People seem to forget that Seiler did nothing wrong until she lied...it's not illegal to go off for a few days, and it is the police's job to investigate missing person reports.

 

It wasn't a fiasco at all, it was a depressed young lady taking advantage of the ay the system works. If she would have simply called and told the cops she had wanted some time alone, no harm, no foul.

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In most counties 911 is a unified service, especially counties with lots of people/goverment subdivisions. There was a big to-do in Waukesha a few years back when Butler wanted out of the unified system. People seemed to like it in Butler until they found out their taxes would go UP if they had their own system. It was cheaper to pool resources with the county rather than have their own system.
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How were they police supposed to be dispatched to a 911 hang-up from a cell phone? I guess Im not up on the technology, but I dont know how they would know where to go if it was a cell.
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not to play this card but this type of situation happens every day across the US, this isnt all that new or odd of a case. Now not everyone is about to be killed but stuff happens. You also have to factor in the amount of false 911 calls that these people get in a day, could you imagine the cost of investigating every one, they do have to use some discretion and this time it bit them in the butt.
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Well, I am just saying that from a "National news" perspective.... this does not bode well for the Madison Police Department. Its been a tough few years for Chief Noble Wray to try to keep the Madison Police respectable and helpful in any way necessary to citizen needs. I would think some National media may point the finger squarely at Madison Police, as with all cases, to increase the "sensationalism" (see: Nancy Grace).

I really do not think the Madison Police Department cares what the "National News" perspective of all this is. People like Nancy Grace just take advantage of horrible situations (murders, rapes, child abuse) to become famous.

 

Living here the last 6 years I have come to respect the Madison Police Department greatly. This weekend's Mifflin Street block party is an example of how good they really are. They cannot be to blame for a crackhead breaking into a house and killing someone.

 

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to follow up, even had they responded most likely she would have been dead anyways, they may have had a better shot at catching him but if she was calling when he broke in then she didnt have much time to live anyways.
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How were they police supposed to be dispatched to a 911 hang-up from a cell phone? I guess Im not up on the technology, but I dont know how they would know where to go if it was a cell.

Every newer cellular phone is now equipped with a GPS tracking device, and every 911 dispatch center in the State of Wisconsin now has the technology to pinpoint the location of a cell call to within a few yards. Had the dispatcher taken the call seriously, a patrol officer could have been on the scene within minutes.

 

This is going to be lawsuit city for the Madison dispatch, guaranteed. I bet they don't disregard anymore 911 calls, though.

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I know the Twin Cities TV did a story which stated they get 30-100 "hang-ups" from cell phones at every Vikings home game.

 

Considering how many people have it preprogrammed in, I can't believe they have the manpower to respond.

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This is going to be lawsuit city for the Madison dispatch, guaranteed.

 

I agree.

 

The department has admitted that the answerer did not follow the proper protocol for a hang up 911 call, in that they were supposed to make a return call to assess the situation. Since they violated protocol, it's almost certain the family will sue.

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How were they police supposed to be dispatched to a 911 hang-up from a cell phone? I guess Im not up on the technology, but I dont know how they would know where to go if it was a cell.

 

You've hit it right on the head Ryan. As a veteran police officer, there is no way that a 911 hangup call from a cell phone gets dispatched. 911 hangup calls from landlines do get dispatched as with each landline phone there is a corresponding address. However, with a hangup call from a cell phone, dispatching a police officer is a waste of time. While cell phone towers can approximate a location, the location given is very vague. For example. The call originated somwhere between Bluemound Rd and Greenfield Ave, between 76th St W and 92nd St W. The search area is too large to even begin. I can't believe the negative press that the police department and 911 operation center is getting regarding this situation, but that's typical given 99% of the public doesnt understand how the technology works.
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How were they police supposed to be dispatched to a 911 hang-up from a cell phone? I guess Im not up on the technology, but I dont know how they would know where to go if it was a cell.

Every newer cellular phone is now equipped with a GPS tracking device, and every 911 dispatch center in the State of Wisconsin now has the technology to pinpoint the location of a cell call to within a few yards. Had the dispatcher taken the call seriously, a patrol officer could have been on the scene within minutes.

 

This is going to be lawsuit city for the Madison dispatch, guaranteed. I bet they don't disregard anymore 911 calls, though.

I'm not one for calling people wrong, but this is absolutely inaccurate. 911 dispatch centers only have the ability to narrow it down with a few blocks at most in a best case scenario. I've often had to deal with these types of situations and it is frustrating as a police officer when searching for somebody given a huge radius. We didnt respond to 911 hangups from cellphones as it is a needle in a haystack situation when most of the time it is just that, a hangup. No screaming in the background, no inkling as to the situation, just a hangup. Every jurisidiction operates this way, will continue to operate this way and any lawsuit would be unfounded.

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This is going to be lawsuit city for the Madison dispatch, guaranteed.

 

I agree.

 

The department has admitted that the answerer did not follow the proper protocol for a hang up 911 call, in that they were supposed to make a return call to assess the situation. Since they violated protocol, it's almost certain the family will sue.

 

Now this I agree with. Return calls, sometimes several should have been made, but dispatching a police officer, No. It's a shaky lawsuit, but more on the grounds of not returning a few phone calls, not so much as sending a police unit to a large geographical area.
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How were they police supposed to be dispatched to a 911 hang-up from a cell phone? I guess Im not up on the technology, but I dont know how they would know where to go if it was a cell.

 

http://media.movieweb.com/news/03.2006/louieB.jpg

 

These are the only two people in the world with the ability to do this, and one of them is dead.

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I'm not one for calling people wrong, but this is absolutely inaccurate. 911 dispatch centers only have the ability to narrow it down with a few blocks at most in a best case scenario. I've often had to deal with these types of situations and it is frustrating as a police officer when searching for somebody given a huge radius. We didnt respond to 911 hangups from cellphones as it is a needle in a haystack situation when most of the time it is just that, a hangup. No screaming in the background, no inkling as to the situation, just a hangup. Every jurisidiction operates this way, will continue to operate this way and any lawsuit would be unfounded.

I've actually done a lot of research on this subject for a news story I wrote last year, and depending on the equipment the dispatch center uses, the cell phone signal, when the GPS tracker is used, can be traced to a relatively small area (http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/how_to/4258805.html) I would say that the technology has a much greater capability than "a few blocks" as you say. Even if she was calling from an apartment building, it would have put the police in the right neighborhood, if not at the right building. Trust me, I've seen this system in action with the local dispatch center, calling from my own personal cell phone. While it is not pin-point precise, it has the capability to get the officer extremely close to the action. I was surprised how accurate the program actually is. I admit that saying "a few yards" is probably optimistic, but had a said "a few dozen yards" it would have been very accurate.

 

But I think calling my statement "absolutely inaccurate" is a pretty big stretch. It appears that you are quite possibly underestimating your own technology. I understand that this is a touchy issue, especially for law enforcement personnel such as yourself, but you have to admit that this is a major problem, and any lawsuit will, in fact, not only be founded, but likely successful.

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I think we should recognize that 1.) technology changes and gets better quicker than we can imagine. So maybe last year the technology didnt exist to trace a cell phone to a pinpoint location, and maybe today it does. 2.) Government agencies are usually the last to jump on a technological advance, especially something like this. I doubt they upgrade their systems, or overhaul them everytime there is a new development because as fast as things are obsolte it would cost tax payers millions. 3.) we dont know if Dane COunty has this ability - or how good it may be.
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