MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Police reports show dispatchers didn't alert patrol officers to a 911 call from the phone of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright because they couldn't pinpoint that it came from inside their suburban Memphis jurisdiction.
Wright's body was found in woods last week after he had been missing for 10 days. He was shot to death.
Germantown dispatchers said their mapping systems couldn't plot the precise location of the call but the latitude and longitude indicated it came from outside their town. They said they couldn't tell that the phone belonged to Wright, a local sports hero.
Top police officials in the suburb of Germantown are investigating how the 911 call was handled. When investigators learned of the call July 28, they used information from it to find Wright's body.
The following are statements released by the Germantown Police Department:
STATEMENT OF RICHARD A. FREDERICK JR.
911 CALL – JULY 19, 2010
DP: I’m in my office with D/J Richard A. Frederick, Jr. He works in the Comm Center as a dispatcher/jailer. This tape is regarding a 911 hang-up call on July 19, 2010. What we’re going to do now is just ask Richard what he remembers about that shift, that call in his own words. Richard, that shift on July 19, tell me anything that you know about the phone call personally or anything you heard that morning, that night, about the call coming into dispatch. Start off by telling me who was in the Comm Center.
RF: Who was working that night? Lt. Don Taylor was the supervisor that night. Dispatcher Claudia Woods and Dispatcher Rowlson was working along with myself. As far as anything about that call that happened that night, I don’t have any recollection of it. I don’t even believe I was in the room when it happened. I didn’t hear anybody say anything about it, anything that night. You know, early in the morning. The first knowledge I had of it was when I came back to work after being off on Wednesday. I think it was July 28th. That’s when I heard about we had received a 911 call. Like I said, I don’t even think I was in the room cause I don’t remember anybody saying anything about the call at all. I may have been in the jail. I may have been out on break or in the bathroom. I don’t know. I just don’t remember anything about it.
DP: Okay. With that being said, you are a senior dispatcher?
DP: In your experience, if you’re working either police or fire and you receive a 911 call from a cell phone, tell me what takes place manually and technology-wise. What I mean is obviously the phone is ringing. Is it recorded? Does the screen come up and what does it show, if anything, and what do you do?
RF: Okay. The calls are recorded. From my understanding of the technology, as soon as the individual hits or presses the 1 in dialing 911, the connection is made, and the recorder actually starts recording before we even pick the phone up. That’s why you hear the phone ringing before the dispatcher comes on the line and says, “911.” The screen will display what company the cell phone company is, the tower site, whether or not it’s a new technology phone as in a WPH 2 which gives the latitude and longitude of the phone. If it’s less, it just shows up and gives a latitude and longitude of the tower. Most of them, that’s what it shows. It just shows what tower it’s hit. It will show the phone number for the tower site and the phone number for the cell phone. It doesn’t give an exact location. It doesn’t give a name or who owns that cell phone. It’s just the carrier company like T-Mobile or Cellular South or AT&T.
RF: What we’ll do if it’s an immediate hang-up, we just call the number back. If you can tell that there’s an open line, you’ll listen in the background to see if you can hear anything or whether it sounds like it’s in somebody’s pocket or it sounds like there may be a fight going on. Other than that, we just call it back to try to establish contact with whoever has the phone. If nobody picks up the phone, we’ll leave a message on voice mail. Then we’ll call it back again to try and establish contact. If no contact is established, there is not much else we can do with a cell phone with the technology that we have right now.
DP: Okay. This call on July 19th, was at 0005 hours. The phone number that we received is (REDACTED). It lasted approximately (REDACTED). As the dispatcher indicated in records, there was what sounded or appeared to be (REDACTED) on the taped line. If we could, let’s go back earlier. Let’s say that for instance we know now this cell phone, the call was made outside of our City limits. What occurs then on a cell phone as far as the screen?
RF: As far as, you know, from looking at our CAD mapping system, you can’t plot outside of our city.
DP: By plot, you mean?
RF: Define the coordinates and the location outside of the city.
RF: You can only tell what’s inside of our city limits to get down to the location.
DP: Okay. If you could, if you had the technology and you could tell, then obviously you would call –
RF: We’d contact whatever jurisdiction or whatever agency of that jurisdiction over that area to let them know that we received an open line cell phone call with either what appeared to be a fight or a traffic crash or gunshots or whatever we think we heard. Just what the background noise was. We would let them know that it’s approximately at this location because the accuracy of the system, from what I understand, is in the area of 1,000 to 2,000 feet from whatever coordinates pop up.
DP: In your professional opinion, because we’re talking about numerous people, but if we receive X amount of these type of calls out of our jurisdiction from cell phones, I mean, it happens often enough to where it makes it appear to be often. But 1, we don’t have the coordinates to reach out or if the phone goes dead to locate the area or the caller. Is that correct?
RF: That’s correct.
DP: Have you yourself professionally experienced calls outside of the jurisdiction that hung up and you could do nothing with?
DP: How often does that occur on your shift?
RF: To my knowledge, it happens many times a week. I wouldn’t say it happens every shift, but it’s often enough that it’s almost, I don’t want to say routine, but it’s something that –
DP: It’s not out of the ordinary?
RF: It’s not out of the ordinary. Correct.
DP: Okay. Is there any questions that you have? Anything that you want to add to this statement? Any clarifications?
RF: Not that I can think of right now.
RF: (Inaudible) what was done. As far as the handling of calls of this nature where it’s a long distance number, definitely out of the area and it doesn’t plot up on our screen and with our signal, yes. Everything that was done was what should be done.
DP: So there’s a certain amount of work that we can lend to each and every call, but we’re limited to what we can do with some calls?
RF: Yes. The technology limits what we can do. There’s been calls that I’ve gotten out of the area on a cell phone that I knew there was a domestic assault going on, and we just try to call them back and try to call them back and try to call them back and never made contact and didn’t know where it was.
DP: Your knowledge of this, do you have any knowledge of this with other agencies and comm. centers? Do they experience the same thing or is that a fair question?
RF: I believe that yes, it does occur with other comm. centers. I do know a dispatcher from Bartlett that they do have this problem from time to time as well where they get something out of their city and they can’t determine exactly where it is.
DP: Okay. Anything else for this statement? Our policy on 911 and 911 hangups, area you familiar with that?
DP: I’m not going to ask you to repeat it verbatim, but do you see with your knowledge that we were short of or fulfilled our obligations?
RF: For the almost 6 years that I’ve been working here, we follow policy on the 911 disconnect or open line call when we get contact with an individual and we attempt to call them back. If we can leave a message, we leave a message letting them know, “Your phone called 911. If you have an emergency, call us back.” Outside of that, I mean, we can’t make somebody answer the phone.
DP: Okay. I would encourage you to keep this conversation confidential. There is an ongoing homicide investigation involving Mr. Wright and this phone call and other things. So keep it confidential. With that being said, this statement ends July 30, 2010, at approximately 11:15 a.m.
STATEMENT OF CHRIS ROWLSON
JULY 19, 2010 911 CALL
DP: This is Insp. Danny Payne. I’m in my office with Capt. Joe Bradley and Dispatcher/Jailer Chris Rowlson. Chris, spell your last name.
CR: Christopher, common spelling
DP: Okay. This call or this recording is being completed or conducted on July 30, 2010, at approximately 11:30 a.m. It’s regarding a 911 call that occurred (REDACTED). The call lasted approximately (REDACTED). The call taker heard what she believed to (REDACTED). With that being said, Chris, did you work that shift?
CR: Yes, I did.
DP: If you would, tell me what station you were at, if you remember, and what you remember, if anything, about the call.
CR: At that particular time, when this call came in, I was on the jail service, jail computer side. I was on the jail station, which is back-up police. I’m not sure if I took the original call or Dispatcher Woods took the call, but we basically picked up simultaneously. Either myself or Dispatcher Woods had stated, you know, “This is Germantown 911. Where is your emergency?” Upon stating that, there was nothing. Nobody seemed to be at the other end of the line. Then a short time later, I heard maybe (REDACTED). Again, Dispatcher Woods, I believe, was on the phone trying to find out if anybody was there. “Hello. Is anybody there?” After about (REDACTED), I did not hear anything other than that (REDACTED), so I hung up my phone because being back-up police, when Officer Woods was on the, you know, handling this call, then I’m back taking over radio traffic for the officers doing police stops and stuff like that. She finally hung up and turned to me and basically stated, (REDACTED) I said, (REDACTED). Then she went and attempted – I’m not sure if she completed a call back of the (REDACTED). I believe she did because I believe she left a message on the phone. When that was done, I made a statement to her, “Do you have the longitude and latitude coordinates of that call?” I believe she said she did. I said, “Well, why don’t you try that on the CAD mapping just to see if that call was anywhere within our screen.” At that point in time, she started with the CAD mapping and getting the latitude and longitude. Some time during that time frame, it was either Lt. Taylor – because she had a couple of questions as she was doing latitude and longitude, and it was either Lt. Taylor or Dispatcher Frederick who was on fire who was standing behind her. I believe it was Lt. Taylor, so they were working that aspect to try and set up a latitude and longitude. I’m not sure if they ended up finding that on the screen or not. Again, I was on back-up police and, you know, I’m a nosy guy anyway. Because I wasn’t paying attention and it was either, you know, additional radio traffic when I’m dealing with officers or I had misdemeanor cites or something. But when all was said and done, I’m not sure what the course of action was. I’m not sure if Officer Woods had passed the information on to Memphis dispatch or not. I’m not sure if they found anything on the CAD mapping screen where that call may have originated from. I know in the past couple of weeks during that time frame, I know not all police cars appeared on the CAD mapping, even though they were logged in on the computer with our CAD. So I’m not sure if the 911 red dot or red arrow showed up on that particular call or not or if it was in our area. That was about it. I know Lt. Taylor was over there, and I know Claudia did make a statement to Lt. Taylor, you know, (REDACTED). But nobody answered. Nobody answered on the call back. I’m not sure, you know, what went on after that. I’m not sure if she did – I know she looked up the Memphis dispatch number. It appeared to be she was looking up the Memphis dispatch number. Whether or not a phone call was made, I’m not sure. I don’t know if it was or not. It could have been, and I didn’t realize it, but I’m not sure.
JB: To your knowledge, did anybody go back and play the audio recording and listen to it?
CR: Claudia may have gone back and done the recall of that or Lt. Taylor may have done that.
JB: Are you sure?
CR: No, I’m not. I’m not sure if they did that.
JB: Was there any other discussion after that returned call?
CR: I believe Claudia said something about, “Should we call County or Memphis?” speaking to Lt. Taylor, who was then back over in his supervisor’s desk. Like I said, he may have said yes, or he may have said no because nobody was on the phone. I don’t’ know, you know, if she ended up making contact with Memphis or Shelby County. I don’t know.
JB: Did you ever ask her?
CR: I’m sure she – because she again reiterated, you know, “That seems to be there (REDACTED). You know, should I pass this on?” I’m not even sure if they found the location on the CAD mapping. If they didn’t find a location, we don’t know where this came from. If they found a location, and that may have been if they didn’t contact, maybe it didn’t show up on the CAD mapping, the latitude and longitude. I don’t know. I know there was conversation back and forth (REDACTED). When you hear that, to me you’re not sure if anything showed up
on the CAD mapping. I don’t know if they did contact or not, but I know she was looking up the number for Memphis dispatch. I know that at one time, she was. She may very well have made a phone call. I don’t know that.
JB: Do you believe the policy and procedures were followed in this particular case?
CR: I believe so. Now to the point of if it was outside or if they found indication that that call, based on latitude and longitude, was outside our city limits but still appeared in our CAD mapping screen, again I’m not sure if Claudia did make contact with Memphis or Shelby County based on if the location was located. I’m not sure if it was located on CAD mapping. Up at least till that point, I believe it was followed. I’m not sure if the indication or if anywhere on our CAD mapping system based on the latitude and longitude from the cell phone, I’m not sure if they located that. I don’t know if it was – if they were able to pinpoint anything. I don’t recall any discussion based on that evening and what we now know in the papers was in the areas of Hacks Cross and Winchester. I don’t recall any conversation about a location they may have found for that cell phone. I do know that she made a statement either to herself or for us to hear that, “What’s the number to Memphis dispatch?” Whether or not that was followed through and they made a phone call, I’m not sure.
DP: Chris, in your professional experience, could you tell when you receive a 911 call from a cell phone in the city or outside the city, tell me what shows up on screen, and then what you do next?
CR: If the system is working properly, and it’s within the City of Germantown city limits, and even outside the city limits – let me take that back – because in our CAD mapping system, it shows city limits, yet I have seen and witnessed cell phone 911 calls come in across the Wolf River bridge that did come in and do get followed on that screen. This particular night, looking over CAD mapping when she went to do the latitude and longitude, I didn’t see any red dot on that screen.
DP: Indicating –
CR: Indicating the location of that 911 call. Certainly, in that area of Hacks Cross north of Winchester, if a 911 call and the CAD system was working properly, that would locate on our CAD mapping system. I did not see a red indication of that. But me personally, if I see the location on the CAD mapping system, you know, then we know who to contact if it’s not us. Me personally, when I’m sitting at police 1 desk, anytime a cell phone 911 call comes in, you know, if there’s no contact with the caller or anything like that, 99% of the time, time permitting, I go to the latitude and longitude check to see if it’s anywhere that will appear on that map, but that’s me personally. I can’t speak for the other dispatchers, how many other dispatchers, you know, do that automatically. I do it, like I said, 99% of the time. There may be a time or two based on the busyness and stuff like that, but yeah. If I see no red dot, cell phone 911 has come on, I have a habit of doing the latitude and longitude on it.
JB: Are you aware of any similar calls in the past like that?
CR: There were no, to my knowledge, I don’t recall any cell phone 911 calls in Germantown.
JB: Outside calls.
CR: Outside calls, there may have been a couple 911 calls that they weren’t nobody there. You know, there was always somebody speaking, you know.
JB: No sound.
CR: No sound on the calls.
CR: Not that I’m aware of.
JB: Domestics or calls for assistance?
CR: There may have been a domestic or two either the area south of Winchester off of Hacks Cross in one of the apartment complexes there. But anytime we have someone on the phone, we find out where they’re at, and we transfer them. You know, we transfer to Memphis. We transfer to Shelby County. I’ve never known of an incident where we didn’t transfer them that we had someone on the line.
JB: In your opinion, is there anything else that could have been done?
CR: I know they were working on latitude and longitude. Whether or not they had located that position anywhere on our CAD mapping screen, but in my opinion, you know, nobody answering or nothing like that and no indication on our CAD mapping, you know, if it was anywhere in Germantown or the immediate borders outside, not a whole lot we could do. It was (REDACTED). It was like (REDACTED) or something like that, so it was (REDACTED). God knows what each shift goes through days, evenings and midnights, with the cell phones around Shelby County. I mean, we pick up cell phone calls from Third Street that come directly to our 911 center. We pick them up on Walnut Grove. We pick them up all over. You know, we get them. Yeah. But I do have to say the one thing, you know, there was a time when those 911 cell phone indications, if it were anywhere in or near Germantown, came up you could look on both fire and police CADs and that indicator was there. This particular night, I looked over at that CAD mapping system, and it, you know, there was no red dot indicating Hacks Cross north of Winchester. In the past, those areas would appear, even though they’re not in Germantown. They would appear.
DP: Could that have any relation to the length of the phone call, (REDACTED)
CR: No. I believe any time it’s initiated and it is received at our control center, that light comes on. Even though we’re done, you know, I’ve seen those 911 things there for a good 5 to 10 minutes after we’re done with that call. They may automatically go away. I don’t know of any way that we have to remove them, so I’m assuming they automatically go away after a time response. I did not see any red indication of a location on our map of that 911 call.
DP: Do you have access on your computer to the internet?
CR: No. I don’t. I mean, if we do, it would be over at Lt. Taylor’s side.
DP: Actually, we do at the lieutenant’s console, and it’s limited to training.
DP: There’s the ability that we do have access. (Inaudible) You can google them if you have the long and lat, you know. I don’t know if it happens every time. I’m not speaking as an expert. We have seen that. You know, we have the equipment that we have. The 911 equipment is all obviously from the 911 community. They upgrade it. They supply it. The equipment is for training.
CR: That’s nice to know. If you can go to that computer.
DP: Yeah. It’s happened apparently one time from what I’ve seen. Insp. Covey got the long and lat and coordinated and found out what cell tower that was close to. So apparently, at least it worked that time. That’s something that, you know, we didn’t have that ability so it’s not really something to consider.
DP: But obviously, if something is better down the road, we want to do it.
CR: I know, of course, there was no verbal contact with anybody on there, and I know that we’re working on latitude and longitude to see if it was anywhere in or around our jurisdiction. I also know that I did not see any red spot indication, you know, that this is where the 911 call is coming from. In the past, you know, it’s been on both screens. I don’t know the reason for that, but that particular call I did not see anything on that screen.
DP: Okay. Do you have any comments or do you have any questions?
CR: No. Sure don’t.
DP: Chris, this conversation is confidential. It is obviously a homicide investigation by the City of Memphis, so I ask you to refrain from discussing this with anyone.
DP: This taped conversation is ending on July 30 at approximately 11:50 a.m.
STATEMENT OF LT. DONALD TAYLOR
911 CALL – JULY 19, 2010
DP: This is Insp. Danny Payne in my office with Capt. Joe Bradley. Also present is Lt. Don Taylor, Communications lieutenant. This taped statement is being taken on July 30 at approximately 9:12 a.m., and it‟s in regards to a 911 phone call from cell number (REDACTED). This call lasted approximately (REDACTED). The call consisted of hearing what appeared to be (REDACTED). With that being said, I will refer to Capt. Bradley as Joe, Lt. Taylor as Don and myself as Danny. With that being said, Don, in your own words, get totally comfortable and as much as you remember, tell us what occurred that night with the phone call with Dispatcher Kenley and your duty as a supervisor. Just cover it all. Take your time.
DP: Excuse me. First, just tell us what night were you working?
DP: Tell us who was working with you?
DT: Myself, Frederick – Richard Frederick, Chris Rowlson and Claudia Kenley Woods.
DT: I know Claudia was on the police radio. Where Rowlson and Frederick were, I don‟t know. They could have been either at the fire radio or at the jail system. I really can‟t remember.
DT: 911 rang. They answered. I could hear, you know, them answering the phone. Claudia answered. She listened. She said something. She turned and said something, and I can‟t say it verbatim cause I don‟t remember it verbatim, but something like, “That sounded like (REDACTED). It sounded like (REDACTED).” So you know, I was at my desk. I stood up and I saw her call the number back. She started calling the number back. She got no answer. After she got no answer, she went to the CAD mapping. She hit the little button to get the arrow to come up, and she started moving the arrow to plot it. Then she said, you know, she couldn‟t plot it. I think she said it was outside the city or she couldn‟t plot it. She turned and by that time, I walked around. I‟d come around my desk and was standing in front of my desk. Standing there. She asked me could I plot it on my cell phone. I said, “We can try.” So I got my cell phone cause it was at my desk. I got my cell phone and asked her to give me the coordinated. I punched in the coordinates. My phone is where it‟s an i-Phone. It said like if I want to go somewhere, I‟ll put in the destination and where I‟m coming from. I put the coordinates in like where I was going and where I was coming from. I‟ve never done it before, and I hit enter which it doesn‟t do that. It doesn‟t plot longitude and latitude. I told her, “It didn‟t plot. It won‟t plot longitude and latitude.” At that point in time, you know, we looked at it as an unknown cell phone call. We couldn‟t find the location, so that was it.
DP: Claudia mentioned this that maybe 30 or 40 minutes later, she did try to call that cell phone number back.
DT: I‟m not familiar with that. If I don‟t sit there and watch what they do, she may have. If that‟s what she said she did, that‟s what she did.
JB: Did she tell you when she called it?
DT: No. Not when she did it. She didn‟t inform me that she called it back.
JB: Okay. When did she inform you? Did she inform you later that she called?
DT: You mean at a later date?
JB: No, that evening.
DT: No cause the thing was, like I said, Claudia is a really good dispatcher. If Claudia is going to do something, she‟s going to do it thorough. If it was anybody else, I would say, you know, I‟d have to check in behind them or make sure you call them back. Claudia, you know, I know she‟s going to call them back. I know she‟s going to go through the process of what the process is to look up the number, to call it back and try to plot it, so I let her do it.
DP: Tell us in your experience on the equipment in there, when a 911 call comes in, if it‟s a cell phone, tell me in your experience what the dispatcher is going to see on the screen.
DT: They‟re going to see the number, the name and the address. They‟ll see the phone number, the name of where it‟s coming from and the address.
JB: On a land line?
DT: Yeah, it‟s on a land line.
JB: What about on a cell phone?
DT: On a cell phone, we‟re gonna see just the phone number, and they‟re gonna see the longitude and latitude. If we don‟t get the longitude and latitude, we transmit while we have the call at the time. From my understanding, we had the longitude and latitude, and there was no reason to retransmit.
DT: But like I said, she was going through the process of calling the number back and trying to plot. She went right into it.
DP: On the screen itself when that wireless cell phone comes in, what is displayed?
DT: There‟s normally like a little pin, but there was no pin. That‟s happened before. Sometimes we get it. Sometimes we don‟t. I looked up at the screen, you know, for a moment and I didn‟t see the pin. When a 911 call comes in, I always like look up to see where it is. Just to see if the pin came up. The pin didn‟t come up. You know, I didn‟t think anything else cause we get a lot of 911 calls.
JB: Did you search the CAD map trying to find the pen?
DT: No, not me personally. No, I did not.
JB: Do you know if Claudia did?
DT: I don‟t know. That I don‟t know.
DP: Also on the screen with the 911 call coming in, even prior to us picking it up, the phone is already taping. Is that correct?
DT: Right. Yes. As far as taping, from what I was told, the minute you put that one in, it starts taping. It‟s once it starts going through its process, it starts taping.
DP: Okay. But all the dispatchers, until they pick the phone up, they don‟t know what was said prior to?
DP: So they just start in like, “What‟s your emergency?”
DT: “Germantown 911. Where is your emergency?”
DP: Okay. Also on that screen, does it show like a Phase 1 or Phase 2 or where the tower is? I think it‟s WRLS or –
DT: Something like that. I‟m not that familiar with it. I know if we don‟t get the longitude and latitude to hit retransmit. If I hit retransmit, while we have the phone active or we have the phone still active, it‟s going to retransmit it and resend it. That‟s what I‟ve always done when we didn‟t get coordinates. I‟ve always – last night we got a call where I had to hit retransmit, and we got the coordinates. So that‟s what I‟ve always done.
DP: Okay. Technology wise in the comm. center, in your professional opinion, is there any additional software or equipment that we could use that would help assist us in locating a dropped call in your opinion?
DT: In my opinion, in hindsight looking on this, no. I‟ve heard people say if we had Google map. I‟ve never used it. I don‟t know how to use it or been trained on how to use it. But they say that one would get us to pinpoint a cell phone. You know, to my knowledge, we don‟t have it.
DP: Okay. Do you have internet access in the comm. center?
DP: On each console?
DP: On which console?
DT: On the supervisor‟s console.
DP: Okay. Is that internet, does it have certain restrictions?
DP: So what can you do on the internet?
DT: I can get on there and do TIES testing and that‟s what I do. That‟s all I do is TIES testing. I do the TIES testing for the officers on their MDTs. I do TIES testing for the dispatchers. That‟s all I‟ve ever done.
JB: Would it be a general web search? Can you do a Google search?
DT: I‟ve never done it. I‟ve never been trained in it. I‟ve been told that I had limited access. I don‟t touch it unless the job requires it.
DP: Speaking in what you just said, do you remember or know why that only the internet access received through the console is limited?
DT: Because we had it at one point in time, we had employees that were looking up purses and they took it.
DP: Okay. In your opinion, do you think we‟d benefit from getting it back if we could manage to get the employees doing the proper thing?
DT: Yes. I have requested that we get it. I think the other 2 supervisors have requested that we get it back and make it password sensitive.
DP: We have supported that request, you know, but there are certain limitations there. This is – this right here, the technology, obviously there‟s some newer technology out there that will make it a lot better job than we can, but we‟re somewhat limited, you know, because of cost. But do you know at what time or when this came up on the cell phone call, and it was determined to be on the AT&T mobility side, located outside the City of Germantown or inside the City of Germantown.
DT: From what I was told, it was outside of the City of Germantown.
DP: Okay. In actuality, that site that you have on that document was located at the soccer field, Red Devil soccer field, south of Poplar Pike and Hacks Cross which is in the City of Memphis, which is ultimately, you know. Tell me in your knowledge and what you experience in there, land phones any cell phone, in Germantown or outside of Germantown, is there anything you can do inside the City of Germantown?
DT: If we have the longitude and latitude, we‟ll try to find it if it‟s inside the City of Germantown. It will only get you a general area. But if it‟s outside the city and it‟s a 911 hang-up from a cell phone, which we get dozens you know, it‟s just an unknown call from an unknown location.
JB: How many would you say of those hang-up calls outside the city occur in a month?
DT: On my shift alone?
JB: Yes, sir.
DT: To my knowledge, probably anywhere from 50 to 100. I mean, we get a lot of 911. We get a lot from Memphis. We‟ve gotten some from Louisiana.
JB: Have you ever reported any of those calls to Memphis or Shelby County Sheriff‟s Department?
DT: No, not unless it‟s something you know where we can pinpoint. Where we can say, “Hey, look, this person –“ If they give us a location. Prime example: We had a young lady call because her car had been vandalized by her boyfriend. We called the number back. We got her on the phone, and we asked where she was. She told us. We determined she was in the City of Memphis. We transferred her to Memphis.
JB: That evening, did you report this call to any outside law enforcement agency?
DT: No, because the information I had was an unknown call from an unknown location. I didn‟t know where the call was, and I didn‟t know. We had no knowledge of who the caller was.
DP: Did you report the information to any supervisor above you?
DT: No, I did not.
JB: For what reason?
DT: Because it was an unknown call from an unknown location.
JB: Did you dispatch one of our police units to any location in regards to this call?
DT: No, I did not.
JB: Why did you not do that?
DT: Because it was an unknown call from an unknown location.
DP: Okay. Is there anything that you would like to add to this as far as what occurred? Could you have done anything better? If you had Google access to the internet, could that – if that‟s true about being able to plot it.
DT: Yeah. I‟ve never used it. I‟ve been told that it works better than what we have. If we had it and we can plot the jurisdiction, we would contact them and said, “Look, this is what we have. This is the location that I Google map plotted.” That‟s the only thing that I can think of.
DP: About last month or in past months, we‟ve been working with the Fire Department on a lot of issues. Radio calls and a lot of other issues. But part of that was cell phones, dropped cell phone numbers inside the City of Germantown. So I sat down with you and Allen Jones and we did like a test on a cell phone. It was in the City of Germantown. You get the coordinates and plot it, and then you – some of the cell systems will tell you with 350‟. Say Verizon may tell you within 800‟. They‟re all a little bit different, but they give you a pretty specific area to look for this person that called inside the City of Germantown. Lt. McGhee had a step by step protocol and I had her send that to all the lieutenants to all the shifts. Do you recall that?
DP: Okay. That dealt with issues inside the City of Germantown.
JB: Did you get that information to your shift?
DT: Yes. That‟s why she knew how to do what she did.
DT: Our night is Wednesday, and we go over it. I didn‟t go over this call with them because it‟s still under investigation.
DT: But when we come across something that‟s unusual, we go over the phone.
DP: Don, is there anything, hindsight is 20/20. I know, but is there anything that you, as a lieutenant, would have done differently, better, worse or the same?
DT: With hindsight 20/20 –
DP: This will help us if there is something different, we‟re going to need this information to make evaluations on our policy and technology.
DT: No. I probably would have – looking at it now, I probably would have bounced it off Stemmler, but like I said, the only thing I could give him was an unknown call in an unknown location. I‟m speculating on his response. I mean, we talk all the time about different situations, but I had nothing to give.
DP: When you say Stemmler, you mean Lt. Stemmler?
DP: Patrol Division?
JB: Was he on duty that night?
DT: The supervisor.
JB: Was there a patrol supervisor on duty that night?
DT: Yes, there was.
JB: Do you know who it was?
DT: I do not.
JB: All right. At any time during that shift, did you go back and listen to the recorded 911 call?
DT: No, sir. I did not.
JB: Why not?
DT: Based upon the fact that it was Dispatcher Woods and I know she‟s thorough, and she said it sounded like. We get these calls. I „m not saying gunshot calls, but we get dropped 911 calls all the time. Based on it being her and how thorough she is, I knew she was going to be thorough with it.
DP: Don, do you have any questions?
DP: Do you have any comments or statements?
DP: What do you think?
JB: Do you feel that you followed policy and procedure on this call?
DP: Our policy indicates on a 911 call that we will send out a squad car even though it was dropped?
DT: Now that I did not know, but we get hundreds of 911 calls that are dropped. I mean hundreds. We have no locations. We don‟t know who called.
DP: That‟s my point is that this evening or that morning on that shift, you did not have the coordinates available?
DP: Say it‟s the south tower?
DT: Right. I did not have the location to say, “Go to this location.”
DP: So you had nothing to give?
DT: Right, I had nothing to give.
DP: Capt. Bradley, any questions?
DP: Don, nothing else?
DP: This statement is ending July 30, 2010, at approximately 9:32 a.m.
STATEMENT OF CLAUDIA KENLEY WOODS
911 PHONE CALL – JULY 19, 2010
DP: This is Insp. Danny Payne in my office with Capt. Joe Bradley and Dispatcher Claudia Woods. This tape is being taken on July 30, 2010, at approximately 8:50 a.m., and is in regards to a 911 call on July 19, 2010, that was received in our comm. center. For the record, I refer to Dispatcher Woods as Claudia, Capt. Bradley as Joe and myself as Danny. This call came in on the (REDACTED). This call lasted (REDACTED). This call is evidentiary in a homicide case in the jurisdiction of Memphis, TN. Claudia, if you would, speak clear into the tape and tell us about or just tell us anything you want to about that night, the call and just everything that you remember that you did.
CW: 911 rang. I answered the phone and heard what appeared to be (REDACTED). Approximately (REDACTED). There was no voice. No other noise. Um, disconnected and called the number back. Got no answer. I looked at the CAD mapping to attempt to see if the CAD mapping had plotted where the 911 call came in, and it did not appear on the CAD mapping screen. I looked at the latitude and the longitude and determined that it apparently was not in our jurisdiction, and turned it over to my supervisor who attempted on his i-Phone to plot the lat and long and could not plot it. I waited and attempted at a little later probably 30 or 40 minutes, to call the number back again, and still received no answer.
DP: Claudia, based on your experience on this particular phone call, did you attempt to play it back?
CW: No, sir.
DP: Okay. Do you have ability to play it back?
CW: Yes, sir.
DP: Okay. On that particular night, correct me if I’m wrong, Dispatcher Rowlson, Lt. Taylor, yourself and Frederick. After this phone call was lodged and Lt. Taylor made the attempt on his i-Phone.
CW: On his cell phone.
DP: On his cell phone. Okay. Was there any discussion with you and other dispatchers about what y’all heard or what – anything like that?
CW: No. There was what I appeared to have heard. As our protocol, there was 2 dispatchers on the phone. There was no – I heard nothing but (REDACTED) or what appeared to be.
JB: Who was the second dispatcher?
CW: It was whoever was sitting to the right of me on the jail position. I don’t – I mean, I don’t know who it was. I want to say it was Rick, but I can’t be 100% sure on who it was.
DP: Okay. Rick, that would be Frederick?
DP: Okay. Based on your job knowledge and the policy on 911s, could you tell us what you know about that? Do you think that what you did followed policy?
CW: Our policy is to attempt to plot it. We didn’t have the equipment to plot it, plus CAD mapping did not plot where the cell phone hit. There was no red cross or dot or whatever the CAD system plots on the CAD mapping.
DP: All right. Have you received or know of calls like this on 911 that has occurred before that we don’t have the ability to map? Not just (REDACTED), but any 911 call that –
CW: Yes. We get calls on 911 that they’ll tell you there is a reckless driver on I-10. I-10 in talking with the people, they’re in Louisiana, and it hit our tower.
DP: Okay. So this is not like a –
CW: It’s not uncommon for us to get 911 calls that we can’t track.
DP: Okay. Did you or Lt. Taylor – at some point in time, did someone plot this and it showed a cell tower in Germantown?
DP: Did it show a cell tower out of our city south of it?
CW: It showed no cell tower. There was no visual. The only thing that it had was lat and long that was on the 911 positron and then I went to CAD map it. I circled that and then I plotted all of our jurisdiction, and it wasn’t in our jurisdiction.
DP: Okay. When it’s not in our jurisdiction, are there steps that you take or don’t take or anything like that?
CW: No, sir.
DP: Okay. Would you typically or not inform patrol that this occurred?
CW: No, cause it wasn’t in our – according to the lat and longitude it wasn’t in our jurisdiction.
DP: Okay. Would you attempt to contact a jurisdiction that it was in and just inform them of what you heard?
DP: That’s just by custom or tradition or policy?
DP: Okay. As I said earlier, I appreciate you coming in here. I know this is very hard on you. Because of the seriousness of it, we have been put under the spotlight, so to speak, so we – if there’s anything that we can do down the road as far as technology, we need to do that. Do you, on your CAD system, do you have access to the internet?
CW: No. To my knowledge, no. The only access that we have on the internet is to get on the TIES.
DP: For training purposes and that is it?
DP: So the access is limited?
CW: That’s correct.
DP: Okay. Capt. Bradley?
JB: At any point, did you or Don discuss informing patrol or command staff people?
JB: Any other local law enforcement agency?
CW: To my knowledge, no. I don’t recall it.
DP: Claudia, you said earlier you called back, tried to call this number back. When you called it back, did you hear anything on the other end?
CW: I don’t know if it went into a – I think it said that (REDACTED). I can’t remember what it said.
CW: It never acknowledged who the cell phone was. It never acknowledged, you know, it was not a personal greeting. I do know that.
DP: Okay. So at no time did this number, (REDACTED), show Mr. Wright’s name, address or anything of that nature on the first call that apparently he made or any attempt to call back? You never ever knew that this was a personal cell phone belonging to Mr. Wright?
CW: No, sir. I did not.
DP: Did you ever become aware of this cell phone and where it was purchased from? What area? Was it Shelby County? Out of state?
CW: I could you tell you by the area code it was (REDACTED). (REDACTED), I don’t know.
DP: This is based on experience of these calls that you tried to make these efforts, and we just did not have the ability to do anything at the time.
CW: That’s correct.
JB: Did you ever have the opportunity to use the retransmit button to reestablish contact?
CW: There was no retransmit because the information was on – the only reason why you would retransmit is if it did not come up with the telephone number or the latitude and longitude.
DP: When this call came through on your screen, and you received the call, you pick up the phone. If I’m correct in this, tell me. You’re looking at the screen. Does it say that this is a Phase 1 or Phase 2 cell phone?
CW: I didn’t look at whether it was a Phase 1 or Phase 2. I know it was a wireless call.
CW: It does show that it’s a wireless call.
DP: Yes, I did. Capt. Bradley asked the question if we asked the question did Claudia try to contact any other agencies? No, based on the lack of having any idea of where this call came from.
JB: Have you received any calls during or prior to the 911 call or after the 911 call about (REDACTED) in Germantown or the surrounding areas?
CW: No, sir.
DP: Claudia, can you think of anything else that you’d like to add? Any questions you may have?
CW: No, sir.
DP: Capt. Bradley?
JB: At any time, did Lt. Taylor or any of the other dispatchers discuss the nature of the call, specifically about (REDACTED)? What they were? What was going on? Did you speculate about it?
CW: Not to my knowledge. I said – I think my exact words was, (REDACTED)
DP: That’s on the recorder?
CW: I haven’t listened to it.
DP: Yeah. It is.
JB: All right. That’s all I have.
DP: Claudia, we appreciate your time. If you don’t have – Joe, do you have anymore questions?
DP: Claudia, no questions or comments?
CW: No, sir.
DP: Okay. This tape is ending on July 30, 2010, at 9:05 a.m. Thank you.