911 problems become focus of County Executive race - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

911 problems become focus of County Executive race


MT. HOREB (WKOW) -- About 20 voters turned out for lunch and politics at the Spring Garden restaurant to hear Nancy Mistele's campaign speech, the woman who wants to be the next Dane County Executive.

The first item on the menu?  Dane County's 911 system.

"They need a capable, skilled leader in the 911 center," she said. "I think it's shameful [Kathleen Falk] hasn't taken public safety more seriously."

Mistele smells political opportunity.  The problems surrounding Dane County's 911 system are becoming issue number one in the spring race for county executive.

It was, of course, County Executive Falk who was in charge when the 911 system failed UW student Brittany Zimmermann last April.  Falk is running for reelection.

Zimmermann called 911 literally seconds before she was murdered.  The dispatcher says she didn't hear the screams, and never called police.

It was later determined there were screams on the line.

The 911 center director at the time resigned, and the dispatcher in question was suspended for three days without pay.

Mistele says that's not enough.  She wants change at the very top of county leadership.

"I think it's shameful to try to make political hay out of a tragedy," said Kathleen Falk.  She pointed to budget and staffing increases at the 911 facility since she took office in 1997.

"That's how they'll judge me," said Falk.

Voters will make their judgment in the spring.

Send comments to Dan Cassuto at dcassuto@wkowtv.com.

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