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Rookie 911 Operator blamed for slow response to report of a dead body

Crime and public safety Metro ATL slideshow

Rookie 911 Operator blamed for slow response to report of a dead body


Illustration: A DeKalb County Police vehicle. Photo obtained via Wikimedia Commons

DeKalb Police were slow to a respond to a report of a dead body found at the former Rehoboth Elementary School building on Feb. 1.

Police said the slow response time was the result of a mistake by a rookie 911 Operator.

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The body was discovered by a man walking his dogs who was taking a shortcut through the woods in the park at the former school, located at 2652 Lawrenceville Highway. The man found the body lying face down next to a dead tree. Police said the man was likely homeless and do not suspect foul play.

According to a police report, the call was received at 4:53 p.m. An officer did not arrive until almost 6 p.m., the police report says. People posting on the social networkign site Next Door claim the wait was closer to two hours.

A spokesperson for the DeKalb County Police Department said, “The E-911 call taker, a first year employee, created the call as a Check Location call (a priority 2 call). The call should have been created as a Person Down call (possible Person Dead), which would have been a priority 1. Once a supervisor was made aware, it was dispatched to a uniform officer, who responded to the scene within one minute of receiving the call. E-911 has initiated the process of corrective action and retraining for the original call taker.”

The DeKalb County School District has owned the old elementary school property for more than 20 years. The school closed in the late 1970s. It is currently called the William Bradley Bryant Center and used for administrative purposes, housing DeKalb School’s information and technology division.

The school district is responsible for maintaining the park and regularly empties on-site trash containers and provides landscaping services, a school district spokesperson said.

“Part of the 2.4-acre park is a wooded area that is a forest preserve which the district would not be responsible for maintaining,” the spokesperson said. “We value our partnership with our neighbors in the area and we do our best to maintain our properties.”

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