The dispatch supervisor in Coral Springs, Fla., has since received a two-day suspension

By Jeff Truesdell
November 06, 2019 12:46 PM
Coral Springs Police Department

An emergency dispatch supervisor streamed a Netflix movie as a Florida woman frantically placed two 911 calls for help after a drive-by shooting, ultimately generating no response from officers for more than 30 minutes before the woman drove to the police station herself, an investigation revealed.

“It’s something we are not proud of,” said Clyde Parry, the police chief in Coral Springs, Florida, reports CBS Miami.

After a bullet pierced the rear window of her red Volkswagen, traveled through the front-seat head rest and bounced off the front window, causing a hot metal piece to land in her lap, Guadalupe Herrera called 911, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

“Something blew through my car. I’m shocked,” she tells a male dispatcher in the recorded call just before 7 p.m. on June 9.

“Can you see it?” he asks her.

“It’s a metal piece. I’m so scared,” she responds. “It made a hole in my wheel.”

The dispatcher assures her that help is coming, but instead of logging the call as a priority “shooting,” it was mislabeled as a lesser “suspicious incident,” said the police chief, reports Miami TV station WPLG.

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Sixteen minutes later, according to the newspaper, Herrera called 911 a second time.

“I don’t know what to do,” she tells another dispatcher, according to CBS Miami. “What if they shoot again?”

Four minutes later, she dialed 911 a third time, saying she’d wait no longer and would drive herself to the station in the absence of a police response. Records show that about 34 minutes passed between Herrera’s first call and the time an officer was dispatched, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

“It was a very hard situation,” she told the newspaper. “It was a drive-by shooting. My windshield was shattered. Nobody showed up — I had to drive myself to the agency.”

An investigator, Sgt. Dave Kirkland, who looked into the delayed response after a complaint was filed in July termed it a “catastrophic failure,” according to an internal affairs report first disclosed by the Sun-Sentinel.

Reviewing the incident and why the shift supervisor, Julie Vidaud, didn’t catch the mistake, Kirkland called up Vidaud’s computer screen log and learned she’d been screening the Hillary Swank movie “I Am Mother” on Netflix for two hours during the episode, according to the internal affairs report.

On the same date as Herrera’s calls, Vidaud’s computer records also revealed “numerous site clicks for websites related to shopping, news stories, streaming TV, movies, vacation planning, and fewer that could be considered work related,” the report said.

“The evidence conclusively shows that Vidaud spends an inordinate amount of time conducting personal business” on her work computer, Kirkland wrote.

Vidaud countered that her supervisor’s console has five monitors and while “there was a good chance that Netflix was running” in the background on one of them, it didn’t mean she was watching the film the whole time, according to the internal report.

Vidaud was cited for dereliction of duty and received a two-day suspension, reports WPLG.

The dispatcher who logged Herrera’s initial call was fired; the dispatcher who took the second call “was disciplined and has since been terminated,” said police, reports the Sun-Sentinel.

According to WPLG, a suspect in what police say was the random shooting that struck Herrera’s car, Kyriakos Manolas, 33, of Coconut Creek, has since been charged with attempted murder and is due in court Friday. It was unclear if he’d retained an attorney.