A 911 call that turned tragic in November when a Dunwoody Police officer shot and killed a Marietta man reveals a sometimes chaotic and confusing response by authorities that appeared to delay medical aid.
A 40-minute communication between Dunwoody and Chatcomm, its 911 police dispatch service, details a car chase of a recklessly driving Bradley Almy that started in the Ashford Dunwoody-Meadow Lane area during rush-hour traffic.
The dispatch call describes the 34-year-old man making erratic driving maneuvers as police tried to respond to various hit-and-run collisions in the heavily populated Perimeter area and stop Almy.
Accident turns deadly
The call soon turns chilling as Almy's black mini-van was reported near the McDonald's eatery on Ashford Dunwoody Road, where officer Jason Dove reportedly walked into the crosswalk and shot Almy after warning him to stop.
"One shot fired into the vehicle," reports one of dozens of cops following Almy.
Four minutes into the dispatch call, the suspect was deemed "in custody" after his vehicle struck and toppled a utility pole near the Savannah Park apartments on Perimeter Center East. The vehicle then came to a stop.
At this point in the police call, an officer clinically describes a gunshot wound to the victim's right shoulder. DeKalb Fire and EMS were called for immediately by police as they described to dispatchers the accident.
Miscommunication amid the chaos
Close to a minute later, however, according to the call log, police dispatchers were still trying to locate the scene of the accident.
Dunwoody Patch has so far obtained only the police dispatch and not a separate but similar DeKalb Fire and EMS response log. Dunwoody Police contracts with Chatcomm, a quasi-private dispatch service, while DeKalb Fire maintains its own county-run dispatch system.
The disparate systems could have led to some of the confusion, according to the correspondence.
Three minutes after Almy was in custody, the tone of police responding to the accident become more urgent about the need for EMS, although they did not describe any change in Almy's medical condition.
"Advise to step up their response," says one officer, referring to medical responders.
During the back and forth, an officer asks for the "ETA" of medical responders. A full five minutes after Almy was apprehended, one officer told dispatch he had to redirect DeKalb EMS to the right location on Perimeter Center East.
"They need to come," the officer said. "They went right by it on Perimeter Center West."
He said that DeKalb Fire was unaware of road closures limiting access to the accident scene.
"I turned the EMS unit around, they'll be here soon," said an officer, around 9 minutes into the call.
A House Divided
It's too early to tell how much miscommunication was created in the shooting because of the separate roles of DeKalb Fire and Dunwoody Police.
Both are operated by two distinct dispatch centers, a division that came about shortly after Dunwoody incorporated and chose to contract with Chatcomm for police emergencies.
The system is still imperfect. Chatcomm receives all initial calls, and then manually transfers it to DeKalb call takers in the case of fire and paramedic emergencies. That adds up to 1 minute 30 seconds to a 2 minute 20 second average dispatch time, according to city officials.
The 3-minute 50-second maximum average response for DeKalb Fire was exceeded by at least 1 minute and a half in Almy's case, according to dispatch records.
Based on the police dispatch logs, DeKalb fire trucks were unclear where to go in at least one case, and didn't know how to get there after a road closure in a second case.
It's unclear if fire and police talked directly on radios or only through their intermediary dispatchers, based on the Dunwoody log.
That lost time could have been important. The first five minutes in a critical injury is considered widely to be the most important time for triage, according to emergency medical professionals.
Kimberly Greer, assistant to the city manager in Dunwoody, said that the city is still working to make the dispatch centers streamlined. Asked if a unified dispatch center could have helped in this situation, Greer deferred.
"There's a separation between DeKalb and Dunwoody ... we provide certain services and they do to. We try not to duplicate."
Greer also said that Dunwoody's release of its 911 call did not detail the actions of DeKalb Fire. The department has not released its call record as of this time.
The cause of Almy's death has still yet to be determined by county medical officials. A toxicology report is being performed. Almy had been arrested this summer for drinking and driving.
After the Dunwoody shooting, he was pronounced dead at Grady Hospital.
Sgt. Jason Dove, the shooter in the incident, is in the midst of an internal police investigation, as is normal for an officer-involved shooting. He is on paid administrative leave.