911 call during Trayvon Martin confrontation raises questions about police response time

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - A 911 call during the Trayvon Martin confrontation raise questions about police response time.

The question is, at what point during the 9-1-1 call did the operator dispatch officers?  Could a speedier response have prevented Trayvon Martin's death? It was not until the end of the almost 3 minute conversations, that the dispatcher told the caller the police were on the way.

You might be surprised to learn that police crews are often not dispatched right away. It might take several minutes before that happens.

Lieutenant Paul Ezell of the Columbus Police Department says there's a reason for asking the caller a lot of questions even though there's urgency to the every 9-1-1 call.

"When we get a call in, we start asking the caller some basic information about where they're at and what's going on and then from that we decide what type call it is; whether it's a high priority call or a lower priority call," said Lieutenant Ezell

Police dispatch works a lot like an emergency room. Lieutenant Ezell says high priority calls are crimes in progress, and with those types of calls, dispatchers are trained to keep the caller on the line.

"I need to know where. I need to know if that person had a weapon," says Columbus Police dispatcher Shelley Joyce.  "These questions are benefiting that officer and for his safety."

Joyce has been working as a dispatcher for 24 years.  She says it can take her at the most five minutes to get an officer on the scene of a crime.

"I'm going to tell you that we're on the way, when we're on the way. I may get a phone call, if I've got who, what, when, or where, they can be on the way," said Joyce.

Controversy has surrounded that 9-1-1 recording of someone yelling for help. Zimmerman's lawyer says it's his client screaming in the background. Trayvon Martin's mother challenges that claim saying; in fact, it's her son pleading for help.

Until that's determined, we may never know who was the one yelling; and if the dispatcher responded sooner, if Trayvon Martin's life could have been saved.

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