ST. PAUL (AP) -- A Ramsey County 911 operator has been suspended after he allegedly delayed dispatching officers to a Shoreview home where a woman was being stabbed to death.
Sheriff Bob Fletcher said the operator delayed sending help for at least 90 seconds, had to be told the address three times, and misinformed the caller that help was on the way.
He then hung up on the agitated caller -- the victim's sister-in-law -- without getting a description of the suspect or asking what type of weapon was used, the sheriff said.
"The telecommunicator's actions were unprofessional, incompetent and disgraceful," Fletcher said Friday.
Norma Thirlwall, 71, was stabbed 23 times on Wednesday, allegedly by her son, Todd Thirlwall, 41. He had been under treatment for a mental disorder, and had told his mother's sister-in-law, Delores Fischer, minutes before the attack that he intended to kill his mother, a criminal complaint alleged.
While refusing to say the delayed response led to Norma Thirlwall's death, Fletcher said deputies might have arrived in time to interrupt the attack if they had been dispatched faster.
After an internal investigation, Fletcher said, the operator was informed Friday he was being removed. As a member of the Teamster's Union, however, he will technically remain a county employee with pay until all appeals have been completed.
But Fletcher made it clear the operator will no longer be answering emergency calls for his department. "We won't have the problem of this dispatcher making this error again," Fletcher said.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.