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Where are the cops when you need them in Ocean Beach?

Residents complain of emergency calls being considered otherwise

On February 28, a longtime Ocean Beach resident, “Alex,” says she called 911 to ask for help after a “tweaked-out guy” parked in a private lot and was drinking alcohol and "sucking on his pipe."

 "I first asked him nicely to move his car but could tell by his demeanor that he wasn't going to,” Alex says. "He got really angry and said, ‘No, just call the cops.’”

Alex says the man became more agitated when a second resident approached to back her up. She says the man told them, “I’m not going anywhere. Go ahead and just call the cops…. I’m going to fuck you up before they even get here.”

After relaying this info to the 911 dispatcher, Alex was told to call the non-emergency number — which she did but was put on hold for about five minutes before the man began taunting her again with threats.

Although she was in a safe place, with a fence between her and the man, she again called 911 and pleaded for help, as the other neighbor had gone back inside his house. According to Alex, the dispatcher said, ”We gave officers in your area your message but you have to call the non-emergency number."

The man left before officers arrived. Alex says there was no follow-up from the San Diego Police Department until she initiated contact with the chief of police. The response she received came from SDPD communications program manager Gerardo Gurrola. He said he would review the calls and get back to her via the phone.

During the follow-up call, Alex says she was told that he had reviewed the 911 calls and agreed “they could have been handled it better…and he will be addressing the situation with the dispatchers and taking appropriate action.”

On March 20, O.B. resident “Michelle” says she was woken up at 4:50 a.m. by a man repeatedly ringing her doorbell. The man had his face covered with a hat and refused to leave her door. She says her boyfriend yelled at the man and told him he was calling 911 and the suspect replied, “Go ahead."

After calling 911, Michelle says they “hunkered down till daylight since we couldn't see our door from the front windows to be sure if he was there or not.” The cops didn’t show, says Michelle. “We were told a car was being sent but no one ever came by.”

Another longtime resident, “Betty,” says she called 911 on March 22 at 4:15 p.m. because her 19-year-old daughter had been followed home by a man who was “clearly under the influence,” aggressive, and threatening to kill her.

“I’m going to kill you, you fucking whore,” Betty says the man yelled as he followed her daughter onto their property. She was able to run through the gate and lock him out. Betty says her daughter screamed for her parents to call 911. When Betty made the call, she says she was told, “I can’t take this call. I have too many calls on hold. Call the non-emergency number.”

After about five minutes, Betty says the suspect left, stumbling through traffic, dodging cars, screaming at people, and eventually going out of her line of sight.

“I couldn’t believe it, “ says Betty. “Cops tell us to trust our gut and call if we feel like our life is in danger. We did, and they didn’t care. If this didn’t qualify as a 911 call, what does?”

Earlier this month, another resident, “Anne,” says she was threatened by a man who said “he was going to stab me.” After calling 911, Anne was told if he “doesn’t actually have a weapon” call the non-emergency number. “I just walked away from this individual, but this is what 911 dispatch is telling me,” she says.

On April 19, during the Ocean Beach crime prevention meeting, police Lt. William Carter explained the situation:

“The fact of the matter is, it’s not being handled properly. When you have incidents like that and you know that they’re wrong, you need to reach out to myself in an email — we need it in an email so that we can take the time to look everything up: date, time, location, and a small summary of what happened. This way we can get in touch with supervisors and find out what’s going on; there’s a lot of things going on. It’s not always the new hires, it’s that there’s no staffing up there — that’s what’s going on.

“We are going to try to hire some new people; the problem is these guys are getting so inundated with calls that they are trying to troubleshoot on the scene and it sounds like they’re making some mistakes….

“We in the field are doing the same thing: we are going from call to call and saying, ‘We gotta go, we gotta go to the next one.’ You guys aren’t doing anything wrong and you’re not to blame at all; we need to do a better job in terms of getting there, we need more officers on the streets, we need more dispatchers at the 911 center and more non-emergency call-takers.

“When you’re having those problems we need those emails so we can see exactly what is being said.… If somebody is threatening to kill you and it’s a situation where although they’re not brandishing a knife — it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be taking the call. We need to be doing a little bit better of a job. We may need to do some reeducating, but this isn’t just O.B., this is across the city we’re hearing this; there’s not too much I can say other than apologize and say that there is a plan. It’s going to take time, but there is a plan.”

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On February 28, a longtime Ocean Beach resident, “Alex,” says she called 911 to ask for help after a “tweaked-out guy” parked in a private lot and was drinking alcohol and "sucking on his pipe."

 "I first asked him nicely to move his car but could tell by his demeanor that he wasn't going to,” Alex says. "He got really angry and said, ‘No, just call the cops.’”

Alex says the man became more agitated when a second resident approached to back her up. She says the man told them, “I’m not going anywhere. Go ahead and just call the cops…. I’m going to fuck you up before they even get here.”

After relaying this info to the 911 dispatcher, Alex was told to call the non-emergency number — which she did but was put on hold for about five minutes before the man began taunting her again with threats.

Although she was in a safe place, with a fence between her and the man, she again called 911 and pleaded for help, as the other neighbor had gone back inside his house. According to Alex, the dispatcher said, ”We gave officers in your area your message but you have to call the non-emergency number."

The man left before officers arrived. Alex says there was no follow-up from the San Diego Police Department until she initiated contact with the chief of police. The response she received came from SDPD communications program manager Gerardo Gurrola. He said he would review the calls and get back to her via the phone.

During the follow-up call, Alex says she was told that he had reviewed the 911 calls and agreed “they could have been handled it better…and he will be addressing the situation with the dispatchers and taking appropriate action.”

On March 20, O.B. resident “Michelle” says she was woken up at 4:50 a.m. by a man repeatedly ringing her doorbell. The man had his face covered with a hat and refused to leave her door. She says her boyfriend yelled at the man and told him he was calling 911 and the suspect replied, “Go ahead."

After calling 911, Michelle says they “hunkered down till daylight since we couldn't see our door from the front windows to be sure if he was there or not.” The cops didn’t show, says Michelle. “We were told a car was being sent but no one ever came by.”

Another longtime resident, “Betty,” says she called 911 on March 22 at 4:15 p.m. because her 19-year-old daughter had been followed home by a man who was “clearly under the influence,” aggressive, and threatening to kill her.

“I’m going to kill you, you fucking whore,” Betty says the man yelled as he followed her daughter onto their property. She was able to run through the gate and lock him out. Betty says her daughter screamed for her parents to call 911. When Betty made the call, she says she was told, “I can’t take this call. I have too many calls on hold. Call the non-emergency number.”

After about five minutes, Betty says the suspect left, stumbling through traffic, dodging cars, screaming at people, and eventually going out of her line of sight.

“I couldn’t believe it, “ says Betty. “Cops tell us to trust our gut and call if we feel like our life is in danger. We did, and they didn’t care. If this didn’t qualify as a 911 call, what does?”

Earlier this month, another resident, “Anne,” says she was threatened by a man who said “he was going to stab me.” After calling 911, Anne was told if he “doesn’t actually have a weapon” call the non-emergency number. “I just walked away from this individual, but this is what 911 dispatch is telling me,” she says.

On April 19, during the Ocean Beach crime prevention meeting, police Lt. William Carter explained the situation:

“The fact of the matter is, it’s not being handled properly. When you have incidents like that and you know that they’re wrong, you need to reach out to myself in an email — we need it in an email so that we can take the time to look everything up: date, time, location, and a small summary of what happened. This way we can get in touch with supervisors and find out what’s going on; there’s a lot of things going on. It’s not always the new hires, it’s that there’s no staffing up there — that’s what’s going on.

“We are going to try to hire some new people; the problem is these guys are getting so inundated with calls that they are trying to troubleshoot on the scene and it sounds like they’re making some mistakes….

“We in the field are doing the same thing: we are going from call to call and saying, ‘We gotta go, we gotta go to the next one.’ You guys aren’t doing anything wrong and you’re not to blame at all; we need to do a better job in terms of getting there, we need more officers on the streets, we need more dispatchers at the 911 center and more non-emergency call-takers.

“When you’re having those problems we need those emails so we can see exactly what is being said.… If somebody is threatening to kill you and it’s a situation where although they’re not brandishing a knife — it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be taking the call. We need to be doing a little bit better of a job. We may need to do some reeducating, but this isn’t just O.B., this is across the city we’re hearing this; there’s not too much I can say other than apologize and say that there is a plan. It’s going to take time, but there is a plan.”

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Comments
9

I think it's terrible that the people in OB who are calling the police are being ignored. But I think they are forgetting a very important rule when it comes to law enforcement. You cannot just call and say, "There's a guy outside acting crazy and threatening to kill me!" They're not going to come for that. You have to call and say, "There's a guy outside acting crazy and threatening to kill me, and I can't be 100% sure in this light, but it looks like he's a black guy." You'll have six cop cars in five minutes with a swat team on hold. There's nothing wrong with law enforcement; you just have to know the rules.

April 30, 2016

Too bad that these folks don't have Shelly Z's home phone number. If they could wake her up at 4 am with a call, she'd have the Mounties there in a minute flat. This is just another example of the old "do nothing" SD city hall approach to dealing with complaints. I'd expand on Java Joe's comments in that if you can say that anyone is brandishing a gun--never mind that you saw nothing like that--they'll show up posthaste and in force. And the SDPD has a record of gunning down unarmed guys/gals who just happen to make moves toward their waistbands or not, depending upon who makes the claim. Yeah, JavaJoe has it pegged, ya' just gotta know what to say when 9-1-1 answers. Oh, IF you get an answer; there seems to be a problem with that, too.

April 30, 2016

There is beyond a shadow of a doubt, a real problem with the 911 system in San Diego County.

There was the horrific incident of the dog attacking the baby, and the family was put on hold once for three minutes, and again after they hung up and called back.

Yes, someone needs to hire some more people. 911 needs to be staffed appropriately. Furthermore, I think the public needs to see that this is a priority, and not feel like they are being talked down to when problems are reported.

Maybe it is time for a very deep look into what is going on with the 911 "department".

April 30, 2016

When seconds count, the cops are minutes away.

April 30, 2016

And your Sheriff refuses to obey a Supreme Court decision (Peruta) to issue concealed carry permits to qualifying citizens.

May 1, 2016

This blog occasionally reminds me of going to the ball game; you hear the bats, see the balls, and there are always plenty of nuts.

May 1, 2016

The SDPD has one of the lowest cops to citizens ration in the US. Many areas of San Diego have only one officer on patrol. When an officer arrests someone it takes that officer off the street for an hour or more. San Diego jail is over crowded and can take time to deposit a prisoner there. SDPD has always needed more officers on the street but the politicos have never felt the need to supply the funds. To put one officer on the street 24/7 you have to hire 5 same with dispatchers. Many times when an incident occurs on the border with another city the other cities officers arrive before SDPD. As an example: There was an injury crash at 73rd and El Cajon Blvd. La Mesa (Heartland) fire, paramedics, police, a PSO and an RSVP unit arrived and the trapped victim was extricated and in the ambulance before a SDPD officer arrived.

May 2, 2016

It's clear that Mayor Foulconjobber is doing what his 1% masters demand. Why should their tax dollars pay for police service for everyone? It's far more cost effective and personally satisfying for them to pay for private security to patrol only their demesnes and have accountability only to them.

May 2, 2016

it's like this everywhere. good luck getting Chula Vista PD to show up and do their job

May 2, 2016

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