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2018 Annual Report: Anatomy of a 9-1-1 Call

Posted on Tuesday July 23, 2019
A communicator maintains public and officer safety from the 9-1-1 Call Centre

After a man is shot and killed at a Vaughan short-term rental home during a house party, Communications quarterbacks the response.

May 12, 03:34:27
9-1-1 call received

Call taker Leigh Bonnis fields the first call to 9-1-1. Shrill screams break the early morning calm and emerge from the headset, piercing the call taker’s ear. They subside for just long enough for Bonnis to hear clearly:

“Someone has been killed.”

Units dispatched

Dispatcher David Slawson sits at the DSP4 desk—he’s been the friendly voice on the radio for officers in #4 District all night long. When he comes over the air this time, his tone is more serious. Slawson calls for any available units to clear lower-priority calls and get to the scene ASAP.

More 9-1-1 calls pour in

Ten more calls are placed to 9-1-1. Some come from inside the house, others come from neighbours who watch as panicked partygoers flee from the house. Gunshots ring out in the background. Details are logged so that dispatch can provide pertinent info to responding officers.

03:38:06 – 03:38:35
Units notified

Supervisor Michele Dobson notifies Inspector Thai Truong in the Real-Time Operations Centre to monitor the call— he will serve as commander as the scene unfolds. In the next 30 seconds, Dobson also alerts members in Air Support and the Criminal Investigations Bureau.

Officers arrive on scene

For six minutes, Slawson has relayed any details he knows to officers racing to the scene. A man in his 20s has been shot multiple times. As the first two officers approach, a car speeds past them, fleeing the scene. Officers pull u-turns to pursue the potential shooter.

03:43:11 Dispatch begins perimeter

Slawson listens intently as Car 4216 comes over the air: The driver has ditched his car on Highway 27 and is running east through a large rural property. Slawson analyzes the terrain and a map of the area and assigns officers to points on a perimeter until a sergeant arrives.

03:46:20 Officers enter the house

Paramedics respond as officers arrive at the house and together, they step inside. Slawson listens as officers confirm over the air: A man in his 20s lies dead on the floor. There are no other victims in sight.

Officers make an arrest

Supervisor Lindsey O’Quinn rifles through records to find a homeowner’s name. The possible suspect is hiding on his property, surrounded by police. She finds it and urges all residents to stay inside. Four minutes later, with the Air Support Unit circling above, the man is in custody.

Homicide Unit notified

Less than half an hour after a spray of bullets sent 100 people fleeing and left a young man dead, the homicide investigation begins. Sound decision making by members of Communications, as well as remaining calm, ensures a safe and efficient response for 24 units on the ground.

Read the rest of the 2018 Annual Report

Want to know how else York Regional Police made a difference in its community last year? Read our 2018 Annual Report.