New Information in Delayed Dallas 911 Response to Injured Child

Neighbors unsatisfied with answers in delayed 911 response

Neighbors were still unsatisfied Tuesday about answers provided by Dallas officials for the delayed response to 911 calls Monday for the armed robbery of a 14-year old boy.

Kevin Crockett said he was beaten and shot at by robbers who stole the cell phone from his pocket. His hand was injured in the scuffle.

It happened at about 2:30 p.m. on Treetop Lane at Tioga Street near Interstate 20 and Bonnie View Road in southern Dallas.

A police statement provided Tuesday said two calls were received at 2:56 p.m. and 3:21 p.m. from a neighbor. The statement said the victim initially told the call taker that he did not need an ambulance.

The statement said the mother called at 3:22 p.m. and 3:48 p.m. The mother was told she would be placed on hold while the call taker spoke with Dallas Fire-Rescue about an ambulance, but the statement said the mother hung up.

Sophia Silvas, the teen's mother, said the police statement is incomplete.

"They're trying to make me sound like I did something wrong by hanging up on them. I was on hold for 23 minutes. And that's the third time that I called them," Silvas said.

Silvas also remained unsatisfied with designating the call "Priority Two."

"A 14-year-old child getting shot at and hit with a gun, and beat up, is a high priority," she said.

An ambulance was dispatched at 3:57 p.m., according to a statement from Dallas Fire-Rescue, but the ambulance stopped nearby while on the way to the boy's home waiting for police to respond with the ambulance.

The police statement said several other "Priority Two" calls were waiting to be answered and a "Priority One" call was also in line.

Records show police were dispatched to the boy's home at 4:25 p.m. The ambulance arrived with police, and paramedics treated the boy for his injury.

The Dallas Fire-Rescue statement said department policy keeps ambulances from responding without police to scenes where hostility is suspected and the crew may be in danger. The statement said the 911 call taker shared concerns about hostility on this call with the ambulance crew.

Neighbor Sammy Smith said he was getting impatient with the lack of response by emergency crews in his second 911 call.

"I said, 'It should be a priority call when a 14-year-old kid has been shot at.' And at that point she hung up in my face. That's what she did," Smith said. "Everybody should hear the tape. The tape is going to tell you the truth. You can't lie about it unless they edited it."

Tennell Atkins, the newly elected Dallas City councilman for the neighborhood, said he wants to hear the 911 recordings before making a judgment on this incident. Atkins served eight years on the Dallas City Council in the past and said he has heard concerns about Dallas emergency response before.

"I will check into it to find out exactly what happened. Right now we have been having a problem with our 911 operators. I don't know if it's a budget issue or shortage of personnel," Atkins said.

The returning councilman said neighbors may be unaware of the policy to keep ambulances away from some scenes until police arrive.

"We need to make sure all the citizens know what our policy is," Atkins said.

Problems with Dallas 911 service earlier this year were tied to an inability to answer calls because of technical issues and call-taker staffing shortages. City officials said those problems were corrected with overtime, shifting police officers to call taking and technical improvements.

Questions in this incident are about the way the response was handled after the calls were received.

The mother said a Dallas police detective told her Monday night the delay was because of a shortage in police officers on the street.

"It was because they are losing officers because of a pension thing they have going on, and I guess other reasons. They didn't have enough manpower to be everywhere at one time. I don't need them to be everywhere at once. I just need them to be where a child has been hurt, or somebody is in a dire situation," Silvas said.

Dallas police did not release the 911 recordings Tuesday but did provide the current number of sworn officers.

As of Tuesday, 3,146 officers remain on the force, compared with 3,257 on Dec. 31, 2016; 3,382 in October 2016; and 3,690 in October 2010.

Police officials have acknowledged a problem with manpower for years. This year they have said they are juggling people to answer calls and also perform all the other duties of the police force.

Contact Us