Leaders want answers in 911 case

May 6, 2009 3:39:58 PM PDT
Numerous calls to 911 from a woman desperate for help were lost in the system. Now city leaders are speaking up, and promising to find out what went wrong.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

We first introduced you to 70-year-old Louversa Davis on Monday. Too afraid to enter her burglarized home, she called police and waited and waited. After seven long hours, six 911 calls and even a police shift change, an officer was finally dispatched. Yesterday, she took her frightening story to city council. And for someone who couldn't get any attention on the day she needed it, she's now being taken very seriously by city leaders.

Houston city councilman Jarvis Johnson wants to review the 911 tapes to see how the call was prioritized. While he refrained from placing blame on anyone, he is deeply troubled that seniors living in his district, like Louversa Davis, feel like they are being overlooked by police because of where they live.

"I'm still sitting in the car and they are not there," Davis recalled.

Davis' frustration over waiting seven hours for a police officer after her home was burglarized sent shockwaves through city hall. A senior too scared to go back in her home because she didn't know if the intruder was still in there, Davis' 911 call was coded a priority four -- no suspect on scene. Houston Mayor Bill White says her repeated pleas for help should have been taken more seriously.

He said, "If there's a belief that somebody is still in the house it should have been coded as a code two."

While we don't know how many officers were on duty in district 7 during the hours Davis called police, of the three districts that make up northeast patrol, HPD says Davis' district is typically assigned 40 to 50 percent of the officers. Her particular beat is considered a high volume call area. An officer was dispatched to her home at 12:16am -- seven hours after her first call -- and arrived six minutes later. While HPD says it's not unusual to have the number of calls per service outweigh the number of officers working the beat, especially during shift change, all six of Davis' phone calls were made way before a shift change.

Johnson said, "I want to be able to get rid of any excuses as to why it took so long for an HPD officer to be dispatched to any resident's house at any given time."

Davis lives in Councilman Johnson's district. As he waits to review the 911 tapes, he's imploring HPD and HEC center officials to make improvements fast.

"There's going to be gaps in the system," Johnson said. "How do we close those gaps? Because I don't want this to become a pattern in these types of neighborhoods."

We have also requested a copy of those 911 tapes and will share them with you as soon we get them. Meantime, Councilman Johnson has scheduled a town hall meeting for next Tuesday for the public to voice their concerns.

      Headline check | 100 most recent local stories | News alerts
            Slideshow archive | ABC13 wireless | Help solve crimes


Load Comments