Buchanan County Sheriff defends dispatcher - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Buchanan Co. Sheriff defends dispatcher; experts say 911 call could have been handled better


This week 911 tapes for a shooting in Jesup were released by the Buchanan County Attorney.

On March 21st, Dr. Timothy Roses shot and killed 22-year-old Lindsay Nichols before he turned the gun on himself.

Nichols' boyfriend, Chase Weber called 911 for help when Lindsay got into an argument with a man with a gun in a driveway.

The man was 45-year-old Dr. Tim Roses, who had previously been in a relationship with Nichols.

During the call to 911 the Buchanan County dispatcher, who is a 20-year veteran, put Weber on hold several times and she told Weber not to yell at her when he asked her to hurry.

A number of people who have heard the tape are outraged by how the dispatcher handled the call.

Buchanan County Sheriff Bill Wolfgram says the dispatcher handled the call in the right way.

Sheriff Wolfgram says pauses in the conversation happened when the dispatcher was contacting responding agencies to get to the home in Jesup.

As for when the dispatcher told Weber not you yell, Wolfgram says sometimes police officers as well as dispatchers need to be "firm" when talking to people in a stressful situation.

Wolfgram did not release the name of the dispatcher, but says the situation left her shook up.

To get an outside perspective, KWWL contacted the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch in Salt Lake City, Utah. We talked with police consultants and instructors Dave Warner and Shawn Messigner who listened to the 911 call and we got their reaction.

"We always inform our caller what we're doing, 'Sir I have to get help responding, I'm going to put you on hold,'" said Warner.

During the first part of the call the dispatcher does not tell the young man emergency crews are on the way until he continually asks her hurry.

"She became, in our opinion quite defensive over it and spent probably a little too much time explaining to him that he didn't need to yell at her. We didn't feel that's what took place on his part at all," said Warner.

After the shooting the young man asks the dispatcher what he should do. The dispatcher never gave the young man any direction and that concerns the experts.

"That caller is calling up needing help and the 911 center has to do what they can do to help, but she offered nothing," said Warner.

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