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Very Disappointed – MPD November 4, 2008

Posted by Attorney Jonathan Groth in FAQ Personal Injury, Personal Injury Law.
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An older woman just committed suicide.  She jumped from a parking structure a few hundred feet from our office building.  Please pray for this woman’s family. 

 It is unbelievable that this just happened. It’s one thing to read about stuff like this.  It’s another to be an active spectator.  She was obviously troubled and stood on the top of the parking structure for over 30 minutes before jumping into an alley.

I say “active spectator” because I called the police at about noon (12:01 according to the police).  We noticed her about 11:57 but initially thought she was just standing on top of the parking structure smoking.  I went and got some lunch and returned about 12:20.  She was still there.  When she straddled the guardrail I called the police again (maybe about 12:25 or so) The 911 dispatcher said an officer was already on the scene.   We didn’t see any officers.  But, our view of the inside of the parking structure is partially blocked.

I walked over to get a drink, came back to my office and didn’t see her anymore.  I said something like “she’s gone”.  Then, seconds later I got a call from a co-worker who said she jumped.  I called the police again.  A few minutes later the fire department, police detectives and a squad car arrived.

So, what took so long?  I was just interviewed by a police officer.  He said that the Milwaukee Police Department received a call about the situation BEFORE my initial call.  That means that over 30 minutes transpired from the time the police were aware and the time she jumped.

The officer stated that dispatch initially didn’t say anything about the jumper being on TOP of the parking structure. Huh?  Isn’t that a pretty important piece of information.  I’d expect the dispatcher to tell the police on the scene the exact location (not to mention take notes of our conversation and tell the police what the caller said).

Why would it take 30 minutes to get to the scene?  Unbelievable. 

Now who knows whether the police would have been able to stop this woman.  But, because it took them over a half hour to get to the scene we’ll never know.

UPDATE: The negotiator came to our office a few hours later.  He talked to one of our staff and said that the police were looking for a person walking in the street.  Allegedly someone called around the same time and said there was a pedestrian walking in the street.  So, the police went looking for that person thinking it was the person who I called about.  But, again, I called about a person who might “jump” from on top of a parking structure.  How is that similar?  Why didn’t the police just look up?   Shouldn’t they check all leads?  And, when I called back the second time about the person on top of the parking structure why did they say someone was on the scene when they were not.  I guess at that point the police were looking for a pedestrian NOT a jumper.  Unbelievable.

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