LOCAL NEWS

Stabbing Victim ‘Disappointed’ With Dispatch Company’s Denial Of Wrongdoing

Nov 1, 2019, 11:08 PM | Updated: 11:14 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The woman who claims her calls for help went unanswered during a knife attack in 2015 said she was “disappointed” with the dispatch company’s denial of any wrongdoing.

“I’m not surprised,” Bre Lasley said. “I’m disappointed that there wasn’t accountability taken for the last four years I’ve been fighting for answers.”

Lasley and her sister made four frantic phone calls for help that night, but no officer was dispatched.

“I knew the whole time if I can just call for help. If I can just call 911 they’re going to send help,” she remembers thinking at the time. But now she said, “There’s no trust there anymore. That trust has been completely destroyed.”

That’s the premise of the lawsuit Lasley’s attorney filed in court this week against the company that makes the 911 software, Priority Dispatch. The lawsuit claims the company “created a technological monster” and the error could have cost Lasley and her sister their lives had it not been for her sister’s screams and an officer who was nearby responding to a reported burglary.

“Changes need to be made so I can rebuild that trust,” Lasley said. “And so other people can trust in the system as well.”

“This incident is really unfortunate,” said Jeff Clawson, founder of Priority Dispatch, during a press conference in response to the lawsuit. “In order to be able to help someone you need to be able to know where they’re at.”

The company denied any wrongdoing Friday, saying its system was never used that night because Salt Lake City dispatchers never made it past step one in their process, which is identifying where the call came from.

“I repeatedly screamed my address that you can hear very clearly,” Lasley said, speaking of her 911 call. “So today when they said you couldn’t understand my address, I was completely baffled. I was taken back; I have no idea. It’s honestly disgusting.”

“850 South Roberta street!” she yelled during the call we received from Lasley’s attorney. The dispatcher responded several seconds later, “Ma’am I can’t understand you when you’re yelling. What’s the address?”

The call dropped shortly after. But Lasley’s sister reached out again, yelling the address several times during a call that can be difficult to understand at times. That call also dropped.

SLC911 is the company that took the 911 calls that night. In a statement, director Lisa Burnette said that officers had already been dispatched to a nearby home for a reported burglary.

“Shortly after dispatching police units, phone calls were received…that there was another event occurring near the original address on Roberta Street. Information related to these events was given to responding officers. Fortunately, Salt Lake City Police Department arrived within minutes and took control of the scene,” Burnette wrote. “In this circumstance, we feel the system worked as it was intended.”

During Friday’s press conference, the president of Priority Dispatch, Ron McDaniel, acknowledged that the Lasley’s “should probably be angry. They should probably be upset and they should probably push for some aspect of change.”

But McDaniel said his company is not to blame. “They’re anger is pointed at absolutely the wrong place.”

Lasley listened to Priority Dispatch’s response to the lawsuit and was disappointed. “It feels like it’s on me and not on them,” she said. “Accountability should not be pointed in my direction.”

Still, Lasley remains undaunted and determined to continue the fight that started four years ago.

“I can’t handle the thought of it happening to anyone else. I’ll just keep fighting for changes until I can trust again.”

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Stabbing Victim ‘Disappointed’ With Dispatch Company’s Denial Of Wrongdoing