DALLAS – A television station has broadcast a leaked copy of a terrified woman's call to 911 last summer just before she was killed in a case that has prompted widespread changes in the way police respond to reported domestic disturbances.
The lack of urgency by police to 32-year-old Deanna Cook's Aug. 17 call caused a public outcry and led to the punishment of dispatchers and the review of police procedures.
Dallas police have declined to release the recording but a copy was leaked to Dallas station WFAA (http://bit.ly/109vB17 ) which broadcast a portion of it Wednesday.
Cook is heard in the background pleading with her attacker not to harm her. She never spoke with the dispatcher after she called 911 on her cellphone because she was too busy frantically begging for her life.
The pressing nature of the call was not relayed to police by the dispatcher. Officers went to Cook's home nearly an hour later, found nothing amiss and left. It wasn't until two days later that her body was discovered in an overflowing bathtub after her family had called 911 expressing concern for her safety.
Cook's former husband, Delvecchio Patrick, was later arrested and charged with killing her. He has not entered a plea in the case and remains in custody on a $500,000 bond. His attorney, Roger Lenox, would only comment Thursday that Patrick is "innocent until proven guilty."
Cook had called 911 several times in the months before her death to express concern about Patrick and what she described as his threatening, violent behavior.
Cook's death led to a flurry of changes by Dallas leaders who acknowledge operators are sometimes forced to work long hours and handle an overwhelming volume of calls. Officials hired more operators, changed how calls are logged and assured residents that their 911 calls won't go ignored.
The operator who handled Cook's call was suspended for not clearly stating to officers the urgent situation. She later resigned. An operator who spoke to Cook's mother two days later was fired for telling her she could not immediately report her daughter missing.