911 dispatcher defends herself in case of mother who was murdered

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Denver 911 dispatch center

Denver 911 dispatch center

DENVER — The police dispatcher who faces disciplinary action as a result of slow police response during a deadly domestic violence incident is defending herself and talking about what she says caused the slow response.

It’s her voice you first year on police radio dispatch report from April 14, the night police say Richard Kirk shot his wife killing her at their southeast Denver home.

“Reporting party versus her husband who was smoking marijuana.”

Kristine Kirk was on the phone with 911 for 14 minutes before she was shot and killed.

The dispatcher, who we are not identifying, but spoke with in the days after the murder, was placed on leave as speculation swirled  she was to blame for the police delay in getting to the home that night.

Some employees disagree and blame the 911 software at the communications center.

“I think they`re looking for a scapegoat,” said one person familiar with operations at Denver’s 911 call center.

In an exclusive FOX 31 Denver investigation last week, we exposed 12 complaints filed by dispatchers in the two weeks before the murder saying the software’s red alert icon wasn’t working preventing dispatchers from receiving urgent notes from 911 call takers.  Those notes were never broadcast on April 14th showing the situation escalating

“At least a handful of people complaining about the new system,” said one source.

Sources tell us in a meeting Thursday at the communications’ center, the dispatcher asserted that software problem in her defense as to why she never broadcast those notes to police.

The news shifts blame to the center’s director Carl Simpson. As the center’s director, Simpson is responsible for software and fixing problems with it.

“Carl and Ernie are the ultimate deciders on which system we use,” an employee said.

Simpson has 15 days to decide the dispatcher’s fate … But with news that the dispatcher is now returning fire, some say it’s only a matter of days before she’s unemployed.


  • webo

    Typical response from government employees. Always blames someone else. Maybe it was the software. But the software employees will blame someone else. I can’t wait until the government takes over our health care….oh wait, I forgot.

    • justan0bserver

      How about we place the blame where it belongs- with the guy who killed his wife? But wait- that’s common sense. And if the issues with their system was reported 2 weeks prior to the murder, why is it suddenly the dispatchers fault now? Sounds like the city screwed up- they knew about the problem but tried to hide it and it got someone killed.

  • Red Butnotdead

    Not MY fault. Yeah, 19 years ago, my EX husband put a semi auto rifle in my face, pulled the trigger. Lucky for me, I grabbed the barrel and pulled it to the side. The dispatcher didn’t think this was an emergence, it also occurred 1/2 block from an elementary school. The police moseyed up to my door 26 hours later. In those 26 hours, I was tortured. The judicial system charged him with firing a fire arm in the city limits, he was out in 3 months. People need to think, use a little brain power.

  • Mary

    If multiple dispatchers have been complaining about the new software even before this occurred, it’s entirely possible the dispatcher told the truth. It’s also entirely likely that the software was programmed by offshore programmers – courtesy of TABOR (let’s keep it CHEAP – who cares if it really works) and was NEVER fully tested. Sadly, this is another case of “you get what you pay for”.

  • Anonymous

    It’s amazing how little content in this news article actually relates to its title. This is more speculation and observation than journalism.

    As far as the article itself goes there’s no actual direct quote from the dispatcher in question, no record of what she has said, and the only content referring to what has actually been said is a single obscure paragraph.

    “Sources tell us in a meeting Thursday at the communications’ center, the dispatcher asserted that software problem in her defense as to why she never broadcast those notes to police.”

    So that’s 30 out of 325 words actually having any real substance relating to the title of this article. The rest is rehashing and speculation. This is a fantastic example of milking public interest in a story without contributing any real information and is an example of the “if it bleeds it reads” mentality.

  • frankenberrycat

    Guess what, folks? The police have no legal obligation to protect you, defend you, nor even to answer calls. That’s the reality.

    If you don’t take steps to defend yourself, you can’t expect anyone else to do it for you…

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