LOCAL NEWS

Utah Woman Attacked At Knifepoint Sues Dispatch Software Company

Oct 30, 2019, 10:11 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A lawsuit claims a glitch in Salt Lake City’s 911 software nearly costs two sisters their lives after they were attacked at knifepoint four years ago. Now, one of them is demanding change to the way 911 calls are handled.

Bre Lasley is fighting for change through the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in Salt Lake City’s 3rd District court. She’s seeking damages against the company that makes the 911 software, saying the system repeatedly failed her in the seconds when she needed help most.

“This is just the place where my whole life changed, and a lot of hard things happened here,” Lasley said.

On Sept. 23, 2015, a man with a knife broke in through the window of the duplex Lasley shared with her sister, Kayli.

The assailant, Robert Richard Berger, quickly became violent. “He beat me up, he beat my sister up. It was terrible. We were fighting for our lives,” Lasley said.

While desperately trying to fight him off, the sisters called 911 a total of four times. “We had four calls that night,” she said. “Help was never sent.”

Neighbors also called 911 and gave the address.

The lawsuit claims the company “created a technological monster,” and “left Bre to fight off an armed assailant alone.”

Lasley’s lawsuit said Priority Dispatch Corp, which makes the Police ProQA software used by Salt Lake City Police, should be held responsible.

“It’s full of prompted scripts, and predetermined questions, that their dispatchers are required to go over,” Lasley said.

It’s not the first time the software been scrutinized.

In a KSL investigation in 2015, officers found it “too rigid, not fluid enough for dynamic situations.”

Lasley agreed.

“No one’s life should have to depend on prompted scripts or predetermined questions,” she said.

What saved Lasley that night, was her sister Kayli, who ran outside and screamed. Officer Ben Hone happened to be in the area and responded. He shot and killed Berger. Hone was cleared in that shooting and was praised as a hero for saving both Lasleys’ lives.

“If she didn’t leave to get more help, then we really would be dead because help wasn’t coming,” Lasley said. She hopes the lawsuit helps police be more effective, gives dispatchers the tools they need to do their job and that it protects victims who call them for help.

“I’m still here. I’m standing. It’s a little empowering but it’s terrifying, too,” she said.

Priority dispatch Corp. didn’t respond to KSLTV’s requests for an interview. SLCPD and the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office won’t comment on pending litigation, but a spokesperson with the mayor’s office said they stopped using the software for police calls last month. However, they still use it for medical dispatch.

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Utah Woman Attacked At Knifepoint Sues Dispatch Software Company