Contact 5 investigates PBSO 911 Learning Experience Daycare response in Boynton Beach

Records show dispatchers held "pending call"

Boynton Beach, Fla. - A man walked into a local daycare full of children saying "God sent him to take the children with him."

So why did it take deputies more than a half hour to show up?

The Contact 5 Investigators obtained personnel records and 911 calls regarding the incident and are learning new details about what really happened.

Back on February 27 th four calls were made from the Learning Experience daycare in Boynton Beach to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

During the first phone call, the caller tells the 911 operator "There's a homeless man who keeps coming here and telling us that God time him to come here."  Soon after, the 911 operator says "Alright we're going to get somebody right there ok?". 

But they didn't.  It took deputies close to 40 minutes to arrive on scene.

"That's enough to scare me," said daycare parent Melissa Kaplan.

We know how it ended – peacefully.  The man was taken into custody and admitted to a mental health facility.  The children, including Melissa Kaplan's son, are alright.

"They're like, ‘everything's ok now', but it's not ok," said Kaplan.

That day in February, officials with the Sheriff's Office told NewsChannel 5 the delayed response was due to a "shift change" problem.

However, the Contact 5 Investigators obtained personnel records that show it was also due to a dispatch problem.

It took call, after call for deputies to show up.

One caller told 911, "We did call thirty minutes ago but we've been waiting for thirty minutes for them to come."

Records show the dispatcher knew what was going on at the daycare but deputies in the field did not.  The call for help hadn't been dispatched.

Click here to see a database of discipline actions taken against 911 dispatchers.

Contact 5 Investigator Dan Krauth spoke with Robin Schmidt, the Communications Manager for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, about the delayed response.

"Why didn't the dispatcher dispatch the call?" asked Krauth.

"Lack of communication, lack of intensity," said Schmidt.  "There was nothing in there, I mean yes you saw that ‘somebody sent me from God,' there wasn't somebody being threatened there wasn't any immediate danger."

Records show the dispatcher dispatched the call 24 minutes after the first 911 call was made.

"It didn't escalate until the verbal argument took place at which time it was immediately dispatched," said Schmidt.

That's when you can hear the 911 caller tell the dispatcher on the audio recording, "The fathers have him confronted and he's getting confrontational"

Schmidt said, "The dispatcher should've been a little bit more timely in dispatching the call, they also have been reprimanded for that."

Both the dispatcher and the supervisor on duty were given written reprimands.  Disciplinary review records from the Sheriff's office state the dispatcher "did hold a pending call for 24 minutes that caused a delay to a potentially violent situation."

"I'm concerned for my safety and my kids safety, next time we call the police is it going to take them that long?" asked Kaplan.

When asked whether callers have anything to worry about Schmidt replied, "I would say let's listen to the other 2,000 calls and see what a great job they did, I really don't think they have to worry about that."

Click here to see a database of discipline actions taken against 911 dispatchers.

Personnel records show the dispatcher involved in the case  was also involved in an incident a week later where he waited 21 minutes before sending deputies to a fight.  Both of those calls got him the written reprimand.

Sheriff's Office officials said they used the call as a learning experience and that they review calls for quality assurance on a regular basis.

Investigative Producer Lynn Walsh contributed to this story.

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