Wait 2 hours for police, man tells Dayton commissioners

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Man complains about police response following attempted robbery

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A speaker at tonight's commission meeting said he waited two hours for police to arrive after hearing gunfire outside and someone tried to break into his home.

Robert Poplin, 28, who lives on Alexander Drive, told commissioners he called 911 at 5:48 a.m. Sunday to report gunshots outside his home.

Poplin said the 911 operator assured him that police would soon head that way, but police did not arrive even after he called back.

Poplin said his neighbor told him that someone tried to burglarize both of their homes, and he was scared for his life.

"It was like being trapped in a shark cage," he said.

Poplin said an officer did not arrive until 7:47 a.m., by which time the sun was up. Poplin said he filed a complaint with a police supervisor, but they "trivialized" the incident.

"He likened my neighborhood to inner city Detroit and Compton, Calif., where the police do not respond to certain calls in certain neighborhoods," he said.

He said the Dayton Police Department should hire enough officers to respond to every report of a "life-threatening" event.

Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl, who addressed the commission after Poplin, said the call initially came in as a report of gunshots and dispatchers classified it a priority 4 call, which is of lesser urgency.

He said it was an unusually busy time for police, who were tied up after responding to a hostage situation that involved SWAT. He said there were about 20 other calls that were received between 5 and 8 a.m. that day.

"In fact, one of the cars that was eventually dispatched was pre-empted by another call," Biehl said.

But Biehl said a two-hour response time is unacceptable.

Dayton City Commissioner Joey Williams said he understands a combination of circumstances contributed to the long wait time.

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