911 dispatcher who handled Denver murder case could be disciplined

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DENVER — The Denver Department of Public Safety has initiated disciplinary proceedings against a 911 dispatcher after an investigation into the handling of a 911 call where a mother was shot and killed by her husband.

Kristine Kirk told a 911 operator on April 14 that her husband had taken marijuana and prescription medication for back pain and started hallucinating. He was scaring Kirk and the couple’s children.

Kirk asked for police to come to their home in Denver’s University Park neighborhood.  At one point she said “please hurry” and send officers.

As officer’s arrived, the husband Richard Kirk, shot and killed Kristine.  She was found dead inside their home.

The incident prompted an investigation into how Denver Police responded to the 911 call.

According to a Denver Police review of the incident released Friday, the first officer to arrive at the Kirk home got there 13 minutes after the 911 call was made.

PDF: Denver police review

A memorial is growing outside of 2112 S. St. Paul St. in Denver, where Kristine Kirk was allegedly shot to death by her husband.

After reviewing notes from that night, DPD said the 911 dispatcher gave officers initial information about the call but did not update responding officers for 13 minutes.

However, during that time there were several updates that “would likely prompt a Code 10 (emergency lights and siren) response,” the review said.

Authorities said responding officers did not know that Richard Kirk was hallucinating, asking his wife to shoot him and trying to grab a handgun inside their home.

Overall DPD said their response to the incident was “reasonable and appropriate, given the limited information that was aired by dispatch.”

“The investigation definitely says the officers responded appropriately, that the call was prioritized appropriately,” said police spokesman Lt. Matt Murray.

The Public Safety office has not released details about its investigation into the dispatcher, but said it is ongoing.

The dispatcher has been placed on leave.

Richard Kirk is being held without bond on a first-degree murder charge.

Last month Denver Police enacted a policy change that requires dispatchers to radio details to officers instead of relying on a computer messaging system as they drive.

The changes were designed to increase communication while handing calls. It also allows for more discretion to issue a Code 10.


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