City Hall's Cuts of 911 Put Us All at Risk From Crime and Lawsuits

Categories: Schutze

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The 911 problem itself is bad enough, but the mayor and the police chief are about to drive me crazy. At our house we record the news and watch it right before going to bed. It's worse than chips and spicy salsa.

Night after night we are subjected to these horror stories on TV about people perishing or damn near to it while waiting for the totally screwed-up Dallas 911 emergency system to answer the phone. Night after night, the mayor and the police chief are on my TV shrugging off the suggestion that something's basically wrong with 911.

C'mon! We're not knuckle-dragging idiots. We all get what the problem is. As Eric Nicholson has reported here, the city has been slashing 911 operator positions and cutting funding for 911 since 2009. It's not the operators' fault or the fault of mid-management. The problem is that there aren't enough people to answer the phone.

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We also get that it's a money problem. The city needs more money for 911 operations. Notice I didn't say higher taxes. City Hall can't wait to shovel tax money out the window to real estate developers who don't need it. I'm not ready to say the only solution to the money problem is to raise taxes on my house.

But they need money from somewhere for more 911 operators, and the solutions are not forthcoming. In fact, the bizarre denials of the mayor and police chief would seem to point to a deeper anxiety at City Hall. The only explanation I can think of is that somebody has told them the city may be in lawsuit trouble.

Normally the city is immune from lawsuits under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, but there are exceptions, the most notable in cases like these being a "breach of duty." If the city tells me I can count on call 911 for emergency help, and then the city fires half its 911 operators without telling me, maybe I can go to court and argue that the city breached its duty to protect me. And sue their socks off.

Obviously, the mayor and a majority of the city council have direct responsibility for de-funding 911. It's up to them.

They tell the city manager they won't raise taxes. Then they tell her they want to give away hundreds of millions of dollars in tax money to some real estate developer. Then they tell her to go figure it out.

So she does. Bye-bye, 911 operators.

City Council member Angela Hunt has been outspoken on the need for honesty about the city's 911 problems. Council members Sandy Greyson and Scott Griggs are unfailingly straight-up about issues like these.

But from the rest of them, especially the mayor and police chief, you get these bizarre wall-eyed shrugs of disingenuous denial night after night. The TV reporter plays back for them yet another call of a lady pleading for help while waiting for 911 to respond. And the mayor says, as he did last night, "We had a problem with this lady."

No, wait. You had a problem with 911. But that's not what he says. He says, "a problem with this lady."

Then he says, "It is in the busiest time of the week -- the busiest night. So, knowing how many calls are coming in at that time, it's understandable why it's long. It's not acceptable, but it's understandable."

No, Mr. Mayor. The busiest time of the week is when you put the most 911 operators on duty. Lots and lots of 911 operators. What do you mean, "It's not acceptable?" If you know it's the busiest time of the week and you deliberately under-staff the 911 operation anyway, that means you made a choice that unanswered calls would be acceptable to you.

And that means you breached your duty to protect that lady. You could have told the city manager, "Scrub the budget, no more huge tax breaks for 1-percenters, staff up 911 and other essential services so we can do our duty to serve and protect the populace."

I won't hold my breath for that one. Right now I'd be satisfied if the mayor and the chief would just stay off my TV set at night so I can some sleep. Maybe it's a left-over from my single years, but I do hate it when people lie to my face at bedtime.


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39 comments
mickeygil1
mickeygil1

How soon you forget !!!   Remember when the Fire Dept Dispatchers protested on city hall?? Talked before the council.   Was told by A. C.  Gonzales "we are willing to roll the dice"   

Minimum Staffing is 8 instead of 10 ??? (Fire Dispatchers)  Tip for you Jim, check and see how many new FF's have been hire in the last 3-5 years compared to the # of FF's retiring.  We are riding 10-30 people over on fire engines everyday.  Great plan by Suhm and Kirk.

 

 

 

DeathBreath
DeathBreath

It never ceases to amaze me how some people expect the government to serve their needs when budget cuts are only responding to the political pressure imposed by TeaTards & other backward-thinking troglodytes.  What do you want?  Make up your mind or live with the consequences.  If you are among the simpletons that believe law enforcement, teachers, and fire fighters are among the lazy ones who don't deserve decent benefits packages, there is something seriously wrong with your cognitions.  There is a solution.  Raise taxes.  Gas prices rise as a function of market manipulation, not supply & demand.  So, if you need 911, suck it up or pay.    

walter_from_waco
walter_from_waco

"It's up to your pal Mary Suhm and you know it. Why haven't you talked to her about it? Is she really the great and powerful OZ that no one can call on? She's way past being fired and no one has the balls to bring that up."

 

+1 on that post. It's a matter of dishonest leadership.

 

Government has a tendency to retaliate against those that don't give it what it wants or get in the way. Retaliation is a frequently-used tool.

 

This is Ms. Suhm's way of retaliating against all Dallasites for opposing tax increases. Tax revenues down? Strong opposition to tax increases? Solution: Punish everyone by sacrificing public safety. Then use the outrage as an excuse to raise taxes so you can shovel more money to developers and continue to defund 911.

 

Ms. Suhm: A woman is dead, another family had their house burn down, hit and run pedestrians lay in the street for 45 minutes awaiting response and countless other people are simply "blown off" by 911. You, Ms. Suhm, are responsible for this mess. I want you out of here.

 

Chief Brown: 911's poor performance has, until recently, (when Ms. Suhm's scheme backfired on her and people started dying) provided a temporary benefit to your department. If 911 doesn't answer calls or doesn't dispatch for certain types of police emergencies e.g. domestic disputes, disorderly/drunk conduct etc. your crime stats improve. In fact I believe I heard Mayor Mike on Friday bragging about how crime was down 12%. You, Chief Brown are gaming your crime stats and we know it. You may be a great street cop but you're a very poor administrator. I want you out of here too. You're in complete denial of how bad things are.

fdasf
fdasf

The 911 issue needs to be addressed but no one is legally obligated to risk their own life to protect you or your property or provide you five star 911 service.  To say you can suit the city is laughable.  What if the city hired more 911 workers and employed fewer cops instead?  Can we then suit the city because the police take an hour to respond to 911 calls?  Ultimately, unless you are under state supervision, only you are responsible for your own safety: buy a gun and learn how to use it if you want more protection.

MisterMean
MisterMean

“We also get that it's a money problem. The city needs more money for 911 operations. Notice I didn't say higher taxes. City Hall can't wait to shovel tax money out the window to real estate developers who don't need it.”  

 

This is the crux of the problem.   The city has an inability to use tax dollars wisely.   Not enough 911 operators-well we have suspension bridges and need a toll road in the Trinity.  The latter is the cities priority not the libraries, not the streets and certainly not public safety.   Like a spoiled child who won’t eat their diner but constantly wants junkie desserts.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Nothing gets fixed until a relative of Perot, Hunt, or Rawlings gets ignored.

 

Hope it happens soon.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Once a call to 911 from the Preston Hollow area is put on hold, and somebody's Pool House burns down, improvements will be made.

Until them, caveat populi.

2texans
2texans

Lay off Mike the Mayor, he has no power on the hires and fires for 911. All he's good for is slapping backs and cutting ribbons. He can't do anything about this. It's up to your pal Mary Suhm and you know it. Why haven't you talked to her about it? Is she really the great and powerful OZ that no one can call on? She's way past being fired and no one has the balls to bring that up.

Hannibal_Lecter
Hannibal_Lecter

If you had actually spent five minutes doing research you would have found that the courts have consistently ruled that police and fire departments have no legal obligation to protect anyone.  

 

You can't stop someone from suing, but they won't win. And not many lawyers will take a case they can't win.

ThankstoJimSnewMeds
ThankstoJimSnewMeds

I would suggest have the DISD teach their students to run a 9-1-1 system as a way to provide jobs for graduates.  But then we would have to teach them the number for 9-1-1 and that farm is not spelled e-i-e-o.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Hey Jim, we have a wonderful new park over a freeway, the nation's largest arts district, a string thingy bridge (and another one on the way), a new tollroad on the way, among other things ...

 

Why oh why should the City bother with such mundane things as 911, paved streets, libraries, water and santitation?

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

911 is great with a Land line.

 

With a cell phone not so much.

Paul
Paul

Sanitation, IT, the animal shelter, 911.  How many more problems have to surface before the city manager is shown the door? 

jerikjonsson
jerikjonsson

JS, placing blame on the Council and absolving the Manager strikes me as backward in this situation.

liberalsareracist
liberalsareracist

911 doesn't protect anyone from crime. Or lawsuits for that matter.

sputnik
sputnik

"budget cuts are only responding to the political pressure"

 

No, budget cuts exist in local government because everyone's property is worth less and tax assesments are lower. That's Dallas' stated reason and it really is undisputable.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @DeathBreath Good point. I think the reality is that the Teatards do want better government services ... for themselves. It wasn't until they woke up one morning and saw a black family in the White House that the realized OTHER people were horning in on the social compact. The more racist comments here reflect the attitude that the 911 problems are all between black people -- black crime victims, black cops, black officials at City Hall -- so who gives a shit? There is no moral fiber or philosophical bone structure in the anti-government movement because it's not anti-government. It's anti-letting-THEM-in-on-it. In the end, it becomes anti-American, a term I don't use loosely.  These are people who will destroy the presidency if they can't destroy the president, destroy the federal government if they can't have it for themselves, destroy the nation if they can't get it to march backwards 50 years. They are the real terrorists because they are enemies of this country -- the ones how actually have a decent shot at taking it down.

EdD.
EdD.

 @fdasf Yes, when your house is on fire, shooting it will solve everything.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

 @MisterMean I wonder how many 911 operators could be hired annually for say... I don't know... just to pull a number out of my ass, $329,000.00?

 

Anyone?

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @Hannibal_Lecter Bit too simplistic, Han. People find their way through sovereign immunity every day.

liberalsaresonaive
liberalsaresonaive

And only a naive white-guilter like Jim would be surprised at the demographic behind the problems at the 911 dispatch AND the city and county governments.

Paul
Paul

Forgot the fire chief

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

 @liberalsareracist Might stop them from getting dead, though.

 

Oh, that's right. So long as it's black on black or in less affluent area codes, no prob. Right?

 

Wait until it takes 30 minutes for a fire truck to show up in HP or UP and THEN watch those fecking puppets at city-hall dance.

 

And stop liking your own posts. It's bad form.

PerryMoore
PerryMoore

I'm not a Tea Party guy, so I don't presume to speak for them. I don't know that I'm even a member of any "anti-government movement." Well, not since the early 70s, anyway. To say that "there is no moral fiber or philosophical bone structure in the anti-government movement" is a gross stretch that denies millenia of moral and philosophical debate. Anti-government movements have been around for a lot longer than bloggers have. It's not about race. It's about freedom.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

 @JimSX  @Hannibal_Lecter It usually takes willful negligence to break through the sovereignty barrier, the other is breach of contract.

 

I think, at best, all you can show about the 911 system is mismanagement which is different from deciding not to answer 911 calls.

liberalsaresonaive
liberalsaresonaive

@JimSX I will take your censorship and your stupid reply as a tacit admission that you have never looked at the Dallas crime & homicide maps, and that you truly are naive about which 2 "population groups" commit the vast majority of violent crimes in Dallas (or anywhere else in the USA for that matter). Thanks.

PerryMoore
PerryMoore

Sorry about the millennia typo. I am way too anal to let that one go.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @liberalsarenaive It's closing in on you. Those voices are getting stronger. See somebody before you take the big leap.

liberalsarenaive
liberalsarenaive

Ha ha "verbally incontinent"! That's rich coming from a 70-year old looking hippie propagandist who looks like he has to wear Depend undergarments.

liberalsarenaive
liberalsarenaive

@JimSX @liberalsaresonaive "why do you spew obscenity?". Hey I learned it from reading your "journalism", Jim. You white-guilt libtards can dish out the "snark", but you sure can't take it. Also, what "obscenity" did I "spew"? There were no vulgar words or obscenities in the comment you censored, just facts that you don't like because they expose you as the naive white-guilt propagandist that you are. HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!

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