Raleigh Police, 911 call center officials meet with neighbors

The delay in getting Raleigh Police Department officers to the scene of an East Raleigh break-in last month was due to a dispatcher error, Raleigh police and communications officials told neighbors. Representatives from the Raleigh Police Department and the Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications Center (ECC) met last Thursday with about a dozen neighbors to discuss the incident and recent crime trends.

A call of a break-in, normally the highest priority, was mistakenly coded by a dispatcher as an attempted break-in rather than as in-progress. The call then entered the queue for Raleigh police to be dispatched. Officers arrived at the Plainview Avenue home fifty minutes after the first call arrived.

“We did make a mistake,” ECC Training Manager Angie Shultz told neighbors, apologizing for the error. She and ECC QA Coordinator Chris Walton walked the attendees through the process followed that evening and in general how the ECC works.

Shultz said that the incident prompted additional training over the next few weeks for dispatchers. Shultz emphasized that if a 911 caller is not satisfied with the way a call is being handled, a caller may request to speak to a supervisor.

RPD Southeast District Commander Capt. Caldwell emphasized that, contrary to rumors, there were plenty of officers available.

“This is not a manpower issue,” Caldwell stated. “What happened was not a result of being understaffed.” Caldwell said RPD currently has just 18 vacancies in a force of over 800, with 57 recruits set to graduate from the Raleigh Police Academy.

East Raleigh Community Officer Mario Lopez provided statistics for the Oakwood North, Belvidere Park, and Bennett Woods neighborhoods showing a 77% drop in residential burglaries, a 40% drop in larcenies from motor vehicles, and a 20% drop in motor vehicle thefts for these areas.

Also during the meeting, RPD Detective Kovatch discussed how crimes like the Plainview break-in are investigated, RPD Sgt. Garcia discussed RPD recruiting efforts, and SED Crime Prevention Officer Lee discussed ways to organize a community watch.

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