Starbuck Investigation Reveals Issue With 911 Emergency System - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

911 Dispatch Operator Breaks Protocol Morning Of Chanin Starbuck's Murder

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PRESS RELEASE FROM THE SPOKANE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: Investigation into the December homicide of a Deer Park woman has revealed that a call to the 911 communications center from the victim's cellular phone was not forwarded to the sheriff's office for investigation.

The break in protocol was made by a long-term 911 call taker.  Hang-up calls into the 911 center fall into two categories. A Phase One call gives the cellular phone number and the cellular tower location. A Phase Two call gives the number plus the latitude and longitude of the cellular phone.

Chanin Starbuck's call fell into the Phase Two category and should have been followed up by the call taker making two phone call attempts back to her cell phone. In this instance, only a single call was attempted and the 911 call was never forwarded to sheriff's dispatch.

"We learned of the mistake while making evidentiary recordings for major crimes detectives," said 911 Director Lorlee Mizell Wednesday. "We addressed it with the call taker December 27th

Mizell said that corrective action would not stop there.  All call takers and supervisors will begin receiving a formal "hang up call" refresher on Monday, and it will be addressed again at an upcoming supervisors meeting. A third session to cover hang up calls will be held at the next monthly training meeting, she said.

The 911 center received more than 1,700 hang up calls in January.  About 900 were Phase One calls and another 280 were Phase Two. The remaining hang up calls were tracked to the caller's cell phone and were resolved.