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We need to hear from the DA who has been investigating the allegation of rape at Duke University. He was quick to speak early on in the case and now he needs to answer the lingering questions.
This investigation has received so much attention that it needs to be brought to a swift end for the benefit of all involved — including the players, the accuser and the university. If there is no evidence or if there is insufficient evidence of a crime, he should say it. If there is evidence and if the defense lawyers were merely sugarcoating the DNA information Monday night, then the DA should tell us and announce the investigation goes forward. He need not be specific about the actual evidence, but he should tell the public if this investigation is over or not. A big problem grows bigger when justice — whatever it may be — is slow. Sometimes justice must be slow because investigations are difficult, but sometimes investigations are slow for no good reason. In this instance, a statement from the DA will be helpful.
Slow investigations are painful for everyone involved. A good example of a slow investigation that is painful to the family is the disappearance of honeymooner George Smith from the cruise ship last summer. The feds have convened a grand jury and there's still no answer as to indictment or not. What is taking so long? Perhaps there is a good reason for the slow pace, but I don't know what it is. There were only a few witnesses who might know something and the space (the cruise ship) is small. That usually means the grand jury work can be swift. My experience has been that families can accept the truth — including that a case will never be solved. What families can't accept is when they think their cases have simply been dropped in some mysterious black hole with no information from law enforcement.
While I like to give you the behind the scenes, and while I don't want to be coy or give away too much about the special we are working on, imagine my surprise when a cold case we have been investigating just got "warm." An indictment was issued yesterday after many, many, many years of the case lying dormant — stay tuned. We now have to re-work the special a bit, but we are extremely happy that there may be justice for a woman whose body was not found... just some remains. No one should be left like she was — she deserves justice. Cross your fingers that a terrible — and old — murder has been solved by the police.
Now for some e-mails:
E-mail No. 1
Larry from Michigan corrected your use of the term “Canadian geese,” but it is entirely possible that he just didn’t have all the facts. If a Canada goose has its primary residence in Montreal, it would indeed be a Canadian goose… or perhaps a Canadian Canada goose. On the other hand, if its legal residence is in Cedarville, MI, it would be a Michigander Canada goose. The real problem would arise if the goose had "permanent resident status" as opposed to just "visitor status" or, perish the thought, was an "illegal Canada goose." Perhaps we should get Congress involved in straightening this out.
(Home of many Canada geese, all properly documented)
E-mail No. 2
I am interested in knowing why the Duke lacrosse coach "cut and ran." He didn't stand behind his players and I find that very troubling. This is a man who has been at Duke for 15 years and when this hits, he resigns. What's with that? Does that send a message? I could understand if he stepped aside until everything was settled, but to resign and totally assume no responsibility, loyalty, etc., to his team is really poor sportsmanship and a cowardly action. What are your thoughts?
E-mail No. 3
This story just horrifies me! Shame, shame, shame on the 911 operators that were involved in this story! If you ask me they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, I also say shame, shame, shame on the people who place the prank calls to 911. Is it within the law to prosecute them as well? I would think involuntary manslaughter would suffice! This would send a message that this kind of prank is serious in nature and not acceptable. They too played a roll in killing this little boy's mother!
ANSWER: I agree with you in that these 911 operators need to be disciplined firmly — fired? I think fired since they did not do their job, which is to help. I want to remind you, however, that there are so many 911 operators that do a magnificent job. We have played some 911 calls on our show where lives were saved because of extraordinary work. The ones we talked about last night were the proverbial "bad apples."
E-mail No. 4
I am furious with the two dispatchers who both failed to send help for the little boy who called in for help for his mom. There is no excuse for what these two dispatchers did. The investigation is over for these two — listen to the tape, chief, and fire them. In fact, he should be fired for allowing them to continue to work while he is investigating. I do not care how many 911 calls they had on Spruce Street that day. It's never the dispatcher's decision on who gets help and who doesn't. If it was a prank that is the job of law enforcement to sort that out once they are on scene, it is not to be determined at the time of any 911 call EVER and never by a dispatcher.
To answer your question Greta, when the 911 call comes in, the name, address and phone number the call is coming from comes up on a screen. When you find out what their emergency is you ask them their name and you verify their address and their phone number. Once in a very great while if someone is in the process of moving wrong information will come up, but it's very, very rare. Once you know the nature of the emergency you send the appropriate agency to help them. But you dispatch the police officer immediately and stay on the phone with the person until help arrives if at all possible. Constantly advising the officer in route or the fire and medical teams of anything new that you learn.
As a former 911 dispatcher for the Colorado State Patrol, I can assure you that what those two dispatchers did was not SOP for our dispatch center or any other dispatch center I've ever heard of. We sent officers out when there was a 911 hang up. We call the location back and if someone is there and tells us why they called and hung up, we still sent an officer out to make sure. If we call back and nobody is there the officer still goes out. We continue to call as the officer is responding. If we reach someone we advise the officer. No dispatcher has the right to not send an officer to any call for help in spite of the fact they might think it's a prank call. Send the officer let him do his job once he's on scene.
I would also like to advise Mr. Fieger that his statement that this is more common than we realize was certainly not true for the dispatch center I worked for and I am fairly certain that it would not be normal procedure in any department and that was a very unfair remark on Mr. Fieger's part. Most dispatchers do their job and they work under very stressful conditions. I am sure there are a handful of dispatchers like the two that handled this little boys' calls but they are few and far between. Most are very dedicated and Mr. Fieger is wrong.
Grand Junction, CO
E-mail No. 5
Shame on you Greta! When Geoffrey Fieger started saying that the 5 year will have to live with what happened to him for the rest of his life, you cut him off saying "No, we'll all have to live with this." No?! How could you say "No"? Were you actually comparing that little boy's experience and grief to how everyone else feels? Greta, not you, or me or anyone else will have to live with his mother's death. Sure, we all feel angry and frustrated about what happened, but we don't have to live with it and in a few weeks it'll be off our minds until 911 does this again. Whether you meant it or not, your comment belittled that little boy's grief.
ANSWER: Diane, you missed the point. Geoff said that his client would have to live with it, suggesting that he — the 5 year old — let his mother down and she died. He did not let his mother down, we, the adults did. Robert promptly called 911. In fact, he called twice. When we teach kids to dial 911, we in essence say, "We will help you. Just dial 911 and we adults will help you." In this instance, we adults did not. He did what he should — he called 911 — and no one responded in time. No one responded for hours. The adults must live with their actions in this case. This statement was totally unrelated to grief of losing a mother.
Finally, for some articles that caught my attention. And don't tell me I have too much time on my hands!
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