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911 phone call examined after domestic violence killing

In times of emergency, many people's first instinct is to call 911 for assistance. Over time, not only has the phone number become ingrained in the minds of the public, but people have come to trust and rely upon the system to get them help in a timely manner. However, as any Dallas family violence attorney is aware, a 911 call does not always yield immediate response.

Recently, a national news magazine aired a segment looking specifically at a tragic domestic violence killing that occurred last year. The victim, a Dallas woman, called 911 on the day of her death to report that her ex-husband was attacking her. However, the police did not arrive on the scene until 50 minutes later, and left when no one answered the door. The woman was found two days later by family members who had to break into her apartment. The internal police investigation found that person who took the 911 call did not enter the call information properly, thus failing to convey the urgency of the situation.

Domestic violence is one of the biggest health concerns in the United States, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. While laws vary by state, there are many resources available to victims, including law enforcement options such as restraining orders and other emergency protective orders. Additionally, many resource centers, shelters and hotlines exist.

The victim's family stated that her death highlights an overall issue with 911 responses to domestic violence-in Dallas, generally, and in low-income and minority neighborhoods, specifically. The call-taker was suspended after the incident and has since resigned, and the call center has implemented new procedures for domestic violence calls. The ex-husband was been charged with capital murder.

Source: nbcdfw.com, "'Rock Center' Takes Look at 911 Call in Deanna Cook Killing," Lita Beck, May 17, 2013

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