Questions raised about call center communication - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Questions raised about call center communication

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- Questions are being raised about why it took almost an hour for an Yakima Police Officer to be dispatched to H&H Furniture after a burglary was confirmed there Sunday morning. .

Mark Peterson says over the years his store has been burglarized several times, so he's gone through all this before.

But he says he's concerned with the apparent lack of communication between police and 911 dispatch. The folks who actually take our emergency calls.

"When police show up, there was no communication that we had staff inside the building. They thought it was an ongoing burglary," said Peterson.

And that's not the only issue he has with Sunday's incident.

According to the Yakima Police Department, the burglary was confirmed at 6:20 in the morning, an officer was finally told to go there, not until 7:10am, 50 minutes later.

"I think there's a terrible communication problem when dispatch doesn't get back to the police department. Police can't catch the ball if they're not thrown the ball," said Peterson.

Yakima Police Lt. Mike Merryman says that it's an unfortunate incident, but it doesn't happen often.

"Not something we see very often frankly, but there are those occasions, certainly when folks don't receive the response time that they should receive or think they should receive," said Lt. Merryman.

Dispatch Supervisor Wayne Wantland was on vacation Tuesday, but told us by phone that unfortunately there just weren't enough resources Sunday morning to send an officer to H&H right away.

But Peterson says he's still worried that dispatchers aren't giving officers all the details.
"They can't have problems some of the time. They need to have no problems in this regard," said Peterson.

The dispatch supervisor wasn't able to comment on whether or not dispatchers did relay all the appropriate information to officers Sunday. But he says they do the best job they can with the resources they have.


We received a comment from a viewer, Linda McIntosh, shortly after the story aired and we wanted to include it. Feel free to leave your comments below.

"I watched the story about the burglary of H&H Furniture and was dismayed when the victim bad mouthed the police department and the 911 Dispatch center.  He did not express anger toward the actual culprits who broke into his store.  It is not the fault of the police or the dispatch center that his store was burglarized but that is where he placed his anger.  That being said, and when you consider the bigger picture, I will state that until the voters provide financial support for public services these problems will only worsen.  As long as we continue to cut taxes, these problems will only increase and crime will increase.  I guess you get what you pay for and if you want protective services, you need to pay for them.  (I doubt many will do the job of the police or the dispatcher for free.)  "Taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized nation." 

I would like to have seen the report be a little less unfair toward public services.  Perhaps if their resources and staff weren't being cut, there would be quicker response times.

Thank you."

                    -Linda McIntosh