Dane County supervisors may decide to audit the 911 Center, following a revelation this week that Brittany Zimmermann called 911 for help the day she was murdered and no one responded. The 21-year-old UW student was found stabbed and beaten to death in her Doty Street apartment last month.
"To say nothing went wrong there is a lack of judgment," says Supv. Wyndham Manning, who represents a mostly student district downtown. "This is a really big issue, especially for my constituents."
At Thursday night's meeting of the county's Executive Committee, Supv. John Hendrick requested the audit of the 911 Center.
"I've been concerned for a while," says Hendrick, noting residents have complained to him and other supervisors about problems with calling 911. "People feel they're calling in actual emergencies and crimes in progress. They don't feel like they get any response."
Hendrick says he doesn't know if the 911 Center is not passing information on to the police, or if the police simply decide not to respond to calls. "That's why we need an audit," he says.
Early next week, Joe Norwick, director of the 911 Center, will meet with County Board Chair Scott McDonell, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney to discuss the matter. The group will also decide whether Norwick should testify before the County Board or the Public Protection & Judiciary Committee.
"It's a little bit awkward because part of what we need to know shouldn't be public," says McDonell. "It's hard for it to be a comprehensive review."
McDonell says an audit would focus on whether the county's procedures are being followed and would be conducted by an outside firm.
"This whole thing is upsetting," says McDonell.
Norwick has so far refused to apologize for the agency's handling of Zimmermann's call.
Manning says in addition to an audit, the county should also do an independent review of Zimmermann's call, to "basically show more sensitivity to the matter and say maybe there was something to apologize for."