January 28th, 2009 09:59 PM
Ugly: Longer response times for LEO
The Chronicle-Telegram - Lorain County's leading news source
BRIGHTON TWP. — It took Lorain County sheriff’s deputies a little more than two hours to respond to check the welfare of a man Monday.
By the time they arrived at the Brighton Township home of John Olson, the 40-year-old already was dead, according to the event log of the incident.
County Coroner Paul Matus said even if deputies had been around the corner and dispatched when the 10:53 a.m. call came in, it wouldn’t have made a difference.
Matus said that while the investigation into Olson’s death continues, it appears he died of natural causes around 6 a.m. Monday, if not earlier.
County Sheriff Phil Stammitti said that while there was nothing deputies could have done in this case, he fears that there will come a time when a call comes in that deputies can’t respond to promptly, and the delay will make a bad situation worse.
“At some point, something that sounds like a nothing winds up being something,” he said.
Dave Noll, an adviser to the Lorain County Deputies Association, said the loss of manpower and the increased response times have placed township residents and the deputies themselves in greater danger.
While Monday’s delay may not ultimately have made a difference, he said, sooner or later it will.
“You’re flirting with disaster, and eventually something’s going to happen,” Noll said.
Stammitti placed the blame for the delay in responding to the call to check on Olson on the layoffs he was forced to make after the Lorain County commissioners slashed his budget by $1.1 million to deal with a countywide budget shortfall. Stammitti cut 12 full-time deputies, eight part-timers and two typists in late December.
Before the layoffs, he said, there would have been five or six deputies on patrol, but he had four deputies working the road Monday, and the deputy assigned to patrol the district that includes Brighton Township was dealing with a prisoner medical transport at the time of the call.
The others were in different areas of the county.
According to the call log, the initial call came from one of Olson’s co-workers at Sherwin-Williams Paint Co. after he missed a scheduled 6:30 a.m. plane flight.
Stammitti said the dispatcher, Sgt. Russ Scarbrough, had to prioritize the calls, and the welfare check wasn’t as high a priority as it may have been had the person being checked been a child or an elderly individual.
“It’s a judgment thing based on experience,” Capt. Richard Resendez said.
The call jumped to a higher priority when Olson’s co-worker called back at 12:21 p.m. and told Scarbrough that Olson was a hunter with numerous guns in the house and was going through a divorce.
Scarbrough dispatched Deputy Jeffrey Yusko at 12:29 p.m., who was working on the county’s east side at the time, Resendez said. Yusko arrived at the scene at 12:57 p.m., according to the radio log.
Deputies found Olson on the kitchen floor of his state Route 511 home with the dishwasher running and the coffee pot still warm, Matus said. Despite having a business trip planned, Olson had not packed and wasn’t dressed to leave the house, he said.
Resendez said deputies also found a note detailing who should get Olson’s possessions in the event of his death, something that initially made it appear that Olson may have taken his own life.
But while Matus wouldn’t reveal the details, he said suicide has been ruled out and Olson had been dealing with numerous medical problems.
Matus said it’s not surprising deputies couldn’t arrive sooner.
“It’s the way it is when you’re short on people,” he said.
Stammitti said this is the second time a seemingly innocuous call has been given a low priority since the layoffs. Earlier this month, he said, a caller from Carlisle Township reported a suspicious vehicle, something that deputies couldn’t respond to immediately. The occupants of the vehicle were actually in the middle of a burglary at the time, Stammitti said.
“You can only handle one call at a time,” he said.
Last week, the commissioners approved a 0.5 percentage point sales tax increase that will bring in $15 million annually when it starts being collected in April. The commissioners have said they won’t use that money to restore any department’s budget unless voters make the tax permanent when it appears on the November ballot.
I do not like the way the man's co- workers profile him however it still should not take 2 hours to respond to anything. Then there was the burglary in progress that they got a call to and ignored. When people ask why I carry this is why. Lorain Co. Sheriff is the only LEO in my twp.
God invented cops so that firemen could have heroes too!
January 28th, 2009 10:06 PM
Two hours or 10 minutes makes little difference when most BG encounters last less than 2 minutes.
LEO are not here to protect us; if they were, we'd need 10 times as many; we are the only ones who can protect us.
The first rule of a gunfight: "Don't be there !"
The second rule: "Bring enough gun"
jfl (NRA Life Member/Instructor - GOA - IDPA - GSSF - ex-IHMSA)
January 28th, 2009 10:16 PM
Pretty typical really.
We have 3 deputys on shift if we are lucky. If you get a call at the wrong end of the county, it could take you over an hour to get there.
It's odd how the people that cut the budgets always exept the same level of performance with less people...
I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.
AR. CHL Instr. 07/02 FFL
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January 29th, 2009 12:15 AM
If the budget is cut, and no ones taxes went down, where did the money go? Maybe the county should assess it's priorities. To me, police and fire are #1.
New programs for the homeless, or flowers around city hall are not even on my radar.
January 29th, 2009 12:52 AM
Damn buddy,I pray you never need immediate backup,that kinda BS not only endangers the public but officers as well
Originally Posted by HotGuns
"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
--Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .
January 29th, 2009 03:36 AM
Costs increase. Pay raises, utilities, gasoline same as for the rest of us. When ever the Gov wants money they tend to cut the project that are needed the most. Cut police and fire and folks might just vote for a tax increase. If they cut their flower budget it wouldn't get the same results.
Originally Posted by Guns and more
Givin the choice the government will keep the waste and cut the necessary programs. This way it will get the people to demand a tax increase.
Last edited by mlr1m; January 29th, 2009 at 03:38 AM.
January 29th, 2009 06:48 AM
At the sheriff's office where I work, we are lucky to have more than one deputy on at night, for the whole county. And the county commissioners just cut our budget by 18.5 %, including all of our pay!
January 29th, 2009 09:46 AM
Well didn't you know that's how it works! Cut the budget, fire(lay off) some people, and expect the same amount of service or sales as before. Who gives a crap about the people working, or customer service. Cut it back to the bare bones and hope the money keeps flowing in.
Originally Posted by HotGuns
It is a constant theme in both the retail/sales world, and the government world, IE LEO etc.
January 29th, 2009 10:14 AM
I am very lucky. We finally got rid of our old sheriff after I don't know how many years. Not sure what the new guy has done, but average response time has gone from 45 minutes to 14 minutes.
January 29th, 2009 01:06 PM
I wonder how far away was EMS? No mention of them in the article.
"Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18
Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
Paramedics With Guns Scare People!
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