911 Supervisor Was Streaming Netflix In 34 Minute Delay In Dispatching Shooting
Coral Springs, FL – A Coal Springs 911 dispatch supervisor is facing an unpaid suspension for watching Netflix at work instead of handling a drive-by shooting call.
It took 34 minutes for an officer to be dispatched to the high-priority incident, NBC News reported.
The call for help was handed so poorly, the internal investigator referred to the situation a “catastrophic failure,” according to NBC News.
The incident occurred just before 7 p.m. on June 9, when a woman called the Coral Springs police 911 center to report that “something just blew through her car,” WFOR reported.
The caller said that the object that ripped through her vehicle might have been a bullet.
“Something shot through the back window and hit the front windshield and almost hit her head,” the incident report read, according to WFOR. “There is a hot metal piece still inside of the car that landed on her lap.”
The victim, Guadalupe Herrera, waited for an officer to show up for 16 minutes before she placed a second call to the 911 center, NBC News reported.
The frantic woman was upset that officers had not arrived, and was concerned that the attackers would shoot at her again, according to WFOR.
“I don’t know what to do,” Herrera said during one of the 911 calls, according to WITI. “I don’t know if I should get out of the car or drive away. What if they shoot again?”
When the call taker told her that an officer would respond “as soon as someone is available,” the victim opted to drive herself to the police department, WFOR reported.
Her sister also placed a call to 911 to report that “nobody came out.”
"It was a very hard situation," Herrera said, according to NBC News. "It was a drive-by shooting. My windshield was shattered. Nobody showed up."
Police later located the gunman, who has since been charged with attempted first-degree murder, WPLG reported.
The Coral Springs Police Department (CSPD) launched an internal investigation into the botched call, and discovered that the initial call taker coded the drive-by shooting as a “suspicious incident” instead of as a top-priority call, NBC News reported.
Department officials wanted to know why the on-duty supervisor, Julie Vidaud, didn’t catch the potentially deadly error, so they pulled data from her computer to see what she was doing.
That’s when they discovered that the most frequently used applications on her workstation during a 30-day period including the timeframe of Herrera’s call were movie-streaming applications, NBC News reported.
While Herrera was begging for help after being shot at, Vidaud had a two-hour Hilary Swank movie playing on her work computer, investigators said.
The dispatch supervisor claimed that movies were “constantly running in the background” on her computer, but denied allegations that she was watching them the whole time, WFOR reported.
She also claimed that she was working on employee performance evaluations during the time Herrera called.
Investigators said they were unable to prove that Vidaud lied to her supervisor, which would have been a violation of the department’s truthfulness policy, WFOR reported.
They did find that Vidaud violated policy by failing to supervise her employees.
“The evidence conclusively shows that Vidaud spends an inordinate amount of time conducting personal business on the computer to include playing streaming TV and movies,” the internal affairs investigation report read, according to WFOR.
“I wish I would have caught it,” Vidaud said of the botched drive-by shooting call. “So, I mean, I failed that particular call, and I hate that.”
Vidaud also argued that she did “everything that I was supposed to do” after she learned that an officer had not been dispatched to the priority call promptly, according to WITI.
The two employees who handled Herrera’s calls to the 911 center have been fired, WFOR reported.
Another employee was given an official reprimand, according to WPLG.
Vidaud is expected to be placed on unpaid leave for a period of just two days as a result of the incident, according to NBC News.
CSPD has since implemented a policy banning media streaming on any device while on shift.