Local/State

Trenton couple upset over police 911 response

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

A couple in Trenton is upset with the police department's response to their 911 call after a stranger tried to make his way into their home.

On Sunday night, Dan Dodson was fighting at his front door with a drunken stranger who wouldn't leave, a man who made his way inside Dodson's South Broad Street building through an unlocked door.

"This guy I don't know what's wrong with him, I don't know if he has a gun," said Dodson.

As the two struggled and punches flew, Dodson's wife called 911.

  Caller: We have a drunk person who's come into our building.
Operator:  Okay you have to call 989-4000 for that.
Caller: Okay, he's at our front door.

  "The 911 operator told her to hang up and call the non-emergency number which is a little upsetting," Dodson said. "They told her it would be a while, they were backed up."

Dodson says it took 20-25 minutes for police to arrive at his home. By then he'd gotten the man out of the building, but he's still upset.

  "I assumed they were going to show up. And I think Trentonians need to know whether police are going to show up or not so we can plan. Some people are going to want to arm themselves if they realize police aren't going to be there to help."

Police director Ralph Rivera says he understands why Dodson was frightened but he thinks the call was handled correctly. 

"From my review of the tapes I cannot cast blame on the operators," Rivera said.

On a priority scale of one to seven, with one being the most serious crimes in progress, dispatchers assigned Dodson's call a five for 'disorderly persons' based on his wife's description to the operator.

  Operator: Are they still fighting?
Caller: He's throwing a couple of fists and he's trying to get into our apartment.
Operator: But they're not fighting, he's just trying to make his way in?
Caller: Yes.

  "The reality of it was we had several other calls of the same nature, priority five and higher, going on at the same time. And the first car that responded got there immediately when possible," said Rivera.

(Copyright ©2014 WPVI-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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new jersey, trenton, 9-1-1 call, local/state
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