Burglary Victim Says Response Time Too Slow

Victim says police took nearly 45 minutes to arrive

By Jim Iovino
|  Wednesday, Sep 9, 2009  |  Updated 10:21 AM EDT
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Burglary Victim Upset by Slow Police Response

NBCWashington.com

A northwest Washington man wants answers after it took police nearly 45 minutes to respond to his 911 call.

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Burglary Victim Upset by Slow Police Response

A burglary victim said it took police 43 minutes to respond to his 911 call.
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A northwest Washington homeowner said he was able to leave work, follow a burglar's trail, confront a suspect and chase the man for two blocks -- all in the time it took police to respond to his initial 911 call. And that, he said, is not acceptable.

Douglas Johnson wants answers after he said it took police nearly 45 minutes to show up after his 911 call about a burglary.

Johnson said he received a call from his alarm company Friday afternoon about a possible break-in at his Wyoming Street home. Johnson was at work a few blocks away, so he told the alarm company to call police while he rushed home to check things out.

When he got home, he found a smashed window on a door and then followed the burglar's trail to a back alley. He asked people in a delivery truck if they had seen anything. Johnson said they nodded in the direction of a man sitting in the alley whose right hand was bleeding.

With no police presence in sight, Johnson decided to confront the man.

"I said, 'Why is your hand bleeding?'" Johnson recalled. "He became a little belligerent and started cursing at me."

The man then started walking away, and Johnson followed. It turned into a two-block chase. While running Johnson said he tried dialing 911 again.

Johnson said police arrived about 43 minutes after the alarm company's first call to 911. He said police eventually drove him in the direction the man was running, but by that time he was gone.

Police returned to Johnson's home and documented the break-in and the theft of a laptop computer. But Johnson remains upset about the lag in response time.

"I don't blame the officers," he said. "There's definitely something wrong with 911 and the dispatch."

Police officials confirmed that an investigation into the burglary response time is under way. They said officers are following up on leads and suspect information.
 

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