ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Anchorage police dispatcher's mistake on a 911 call resulted in an hourlong delay in the response to a fatal shooting last week, police and city officials said Wednesday.
Veteran dispatcher Pam Provost, who was working as a call taker on Oct. 10, failed to note that the caller gave a location for the shooting victim, 18-year-old Dustin A. Lloyd.
Dispatch Sgt. Richard Stouff said it was human error and the call taker did not hear the part of the message that referred to the J.C. Penney parking garage.
Provost instead relied on a computer trace of where the 911 call had originated and directed police to the city's Sixth Avenue parking garage. Officers found nothing there and decided the 911 call was a hoax. But 58 minutes later, they received a second call about a shooting victim. This time they went to the correct location: the seventh-floor stairwell of the J.C. Penney parking garage, where Lloyd's body was found.
Assistant district Attorney Mary Anne Henry said that officers would not have arrived in time to save Lloyd even if they had immediately responded to the correct parking garage. He was shot at least three times in the torso and vital organs were hit.
''He died within a minute,'' Henry said.
The error is just the latest problem at the troubled dispatch center. On Aug. 3, a dispatcher ignored the address that gunshot victim Patti Godfrey gave him and instead went with one suggested by a dispatch computer. That address did not exist and police took 48 minutes to get to the Godfrey home as Patti Godfrey lay bleeding, with one arm nearly severed.
On Aug. 19, a dispatch supervisor sent police officers to the wrong location for Mayfield's Quality Cleaners to check out a report of a suspicious person. Had the supervisor sent police to the location the caller gave, a burglary might have been prevented.
Long hours, short staffing and extensive overtime have added to a stressful work environment in dispatch for years. City officials say they are working aggressively to correct the problems.
At their meeting Tuesday night, Assembly members said they are concerned about the problems and want to ensure that the dispatch center receives enough funding in next year's budget.
Provost is the police department's most experienced dispatcher, with about 23 years of experience. Provost declined to comment on the incident. An internal investigation into the incident is ongoing, but police would not provide details or say whether anyone had been disciplined.
Police have made an arrest in Lloyd's shooting death. Miguel A. Orellana, 18, has been charged with first-degree murder. Orellana claimed he was defending himself after the two got into a fight over a small amount of marijuana, Henry said.
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