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Cops from the 63rd Precinct weren’t sitting on their hands after all.
The police’s much-decried 27-minute delay in responding to a mugging in Bergen Beach back in September was not the fault of the cops, but the 911 dispatcher, who reportedly waited 15 minutes after receiving the first call to alert authorities, cops from the 63rd Precinct said.
“We conducted an investigation that resulted in disciplinary action against the dispatcher,” Deputy Inspector Frank Cangiarella, the commanding officer of the 63rd Precinct, explained to members of the 63rd Precinct Community Council.
The month before, Robert Devita, the father of a 15-year-old boy beaten and robbed at the corner of East 71st Street near Avenue U caused a stir at the community council as he chastised the police for taking nearly a half hour to come to his son’s aid.
“He [my son] looked like a boxer who went 15 rounds,” Devita told this paper afterwards. “It could have been much worse, but they [the thieves] didn’t have enough time.”
Luckily, a witness screamed at the group of young toughs converging on the teen and they scattered, Devita said. Other witnesses called 911 and an ambulance arrived within a few minutes. The police however, didn’t.
Cops initially told Devita that they were stretched pretty thin because there was a shooting in Marine Park on the same night, but promised to look into the matter.
Releasing the results publicly for the first time, Cangiarella said that seven calls were made to 911 in response to the Bergen Beach attack.
While it was unclear why this happened, cops were not alerted to the crime until 15 minutes after the first 911 call was made, he said.
Cangiarella added that two police cars arrived on the scene six minutes after they were dispatched there. They ultimately arrested at least one of the thugs involved in the mugging, charging him with robbery.
Cangiarella said that their investigation determined that the “dispatcher never updated the job or assign it to a unit.”
“This was not a technical problem, it was a human one,” he said.
Cangiarella said that the Devita family heard the 911 tapes for themselves and are satisfied with the investigation’s findings.
“While inexcusable, it is not the fault of the precinct but a dispatcher problem,” said City Councilmember Lew Fidler, who had been keeping a close eye on the investigation. “I’d rather it be that than the police needing to work on their response times.”
Calls to NYPD officials about the dispatcher snafu were not returned by press time.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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