911 dispatcher resigns after woman killed during call

DENVER - The dispatcher who handled the 911 call in which a woman died, has resigned, according to the Manager of Safety's Office.

The City and County of Denver says the dispatcher submitted her resignation during termination proceedings Friday. The city says, "After considering the request, the dismissal letter has been withdrawn and her resignation accepted."

It's not clear how long the dispatcher had been on the job. The dispatcher was suspended with pay the day after the Kirk incident pending the results of the investigation. On Friday, the dispatcher resigned.

Kris Kirk, a mother of three, was allegedly shot by her husband Richard while she was on the phone with 911 in April. Kris first called for help because she said her husband was hallucinating, according to court records.

A search warrant shows Richard ingested a marijuana edible and prescription medication before allegedly shooting his wife.

In a May press conference, police said while the call taker on the phone with Kris documented what was going on inside the home and was entering the information into the computer, the dispatcher was not providing verbal updates to the patrol officers but was forwarding the notes to officers' laptops. The report found the dispatcher verbally provided initial information to officers but didn't verbally update police on the situation for 13 minutes.

The Denver Department of Public Safety found no wrongdoing with the officers responding to the scene. 9NEWS viewers, through email and social media have previously expressed criticism for the 12- to 13-minute response time for officers to arrive at the Kirks' house.

The report states "the response of the patrol officers was found to be reasonable and appropriate, given the limited information that was aired by dispatch."

The report found the information relayed by the Kris to the call taker would've prompted an emergency response, had the officers been told what was going on.

"At the time, it was prioritized appropriately as a class-one priority, but no information was provided, verbally to the officers, to update that situation," Commander Matt Murray with the Denver Police Department said. "Officers were not given, verbally, information as they were responding to the scene. It's not possible or safe for officers to be driving to a crime and reading a screen."

Read the safety response summary: http://bit.ly/1nSzwy5

"Over the span of the 13 minutes that elapsed between when the call to 2112 S. St. Paul was aired and when unit 332A requests cover, after reading the CAD notes, there are several CAD updates that would likely prompt a Code-10 [emergency lights and siren] response," the report stated.

Without reading the dispatcher updates, DPD has said the response time is in line with the average time it takes officers to respond to domestic-violence cases in Denver.

The Denver Department of Public Safety recently made changes to how police respond to specific incidents and who makes the determination an urgent response is needed.

The Department of Public Safety says the changes are not related to any specific incident.

The changes include 911 dispatchers will no longer suggest the urgency with which Denver Police should respond to a call. Code nine or 10 are considered the highest priority calls and dictate how the officers drive to a call, meaning lights and sirens.

According to the new policy, the officers' supervisor will now determine the response.

City officials say Code 10 or lights and sirens response will now include calls reporting excited delirium, suicidal party, assault or disturbance with a weapon or caller's life being in imminent danger.

"We are seeing more instances where excited delirium and or mental health issues result in quickly escalating situations and outcomes," Daelene Mix, Strategic Advisor and Communications Director for Department of Public Safety, said.

The new policy indicates the 911 operators will remain on the line until emergency personnel arrives on scene in instances of potential excited delirium, suicidal party, caller facing fearful situation or imminent danger or when the Denver Patrol Supervisor calls for a Code 10, lights and sirens, and response.

A fundraiser was established for the couple's three children: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/ckCuc/ab/53Fkrb.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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