911 call in officer-involved shooting produced faulty dispatch - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

911 call in officer-involved shooting produced faulty dispatch

MADISON (WKOW) --- A Dane County 911 Communications Center official tells 27 News a 911 call before officers shot and killed an armed suspect on Hammersley Road resulted in a dispatch of a stabbing, even though no one had been hurt.

Operations director Paul Logan tells 27 News the wife of shooting victim Charles Carll placed the call Saturday afternoon.

Logan says a communicator assigned to call-taking entered call information into a computer, and a dispatcher then interpreted the information as a man having cut his wife's stomach with a knife, and conveyed the stabbing information to responding officers.

Authorities say no one had been hurt. They says Carll was armed with a knife, outside his command, and ignored police officer commands. They say deployment of a taser failed to stop Carll from advancing on officers, and Carll was fatally shot.

Logan says the staff member who dispatched the stabbing information is a seven-year veteran. Logan tells 27 News the call-taker has been a staff employee for five years.

Logan says even when no attack is involved, the response to a suspected, domestic violence situation when a person is believed armed still involves heightened measures,  such as more than one police squad car being dispatched to a scene.

But Madison city councilperson Mark Clear says there's a distinction between officers responding to a stabbing, and responding to an armed person.

"I think that does change the way officers approach it," Clear tells 27 News.

"I think every possible piece of information officers can have, going into a situation, helps them how to prepare, and what possible ways they'll need to react," Clear says.

Logan provided no information on what was said by the victim's wife in the call.

A request by 27 News for the audio of the call was denied by Logan, who cited an on-going investigation in refusing a release of information under the state's Open Records statute.

Clear tells 27 News recently released squad-car computer messages between resigning police officer Stephen Heimsness and other officers include communication between rank-and-file officers over dissatisfaction with dispatcher competence. Clear says he's like to know if the police shop-talk was justified. Heimsness, who shot and killed a suspect last November, was forced out over what police chief Noble Wray termed inappropriate communications, and other improper actions.

After a 911 call from murder victim UW-Madison student Brittany Zimmermann was mishandled by a call-taker in 2008, 911 Communications Center staff, technology and facility were expanded. 

Wray says preliminary investigation indicates officers were justified in their actions in shooting Carll.


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