A heavily redacted copy of a 40-page report into the alleged mishandling of a 911 call for help from murder victim Brittany Zimmermann sheds little, if any, new light on a number of important questions.
The report was released on Thursday night, minutes after the end of a joint committee of the Dane County Board in which embattled 911 Center director Joe Norwick answered questions from county supervisors about 911 center policies.
The report does not provide the time of the 911 call for help from Zimmermann, who was murdered inside her downtown Madison apartment on April 2. The time of the call could help clarify whether Zimmermann might have been saved had police been dispatched. Police Chief Noble Wray has said he doesn't know; Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk has said it probably would not.
The report also fails to explain the nature of the sounds heard during the call, a source of great dispute. Initially, county officials said nothing on the tape indicated an emergency, but the police claimed there was. This week, Falk admitted there were "sounds that would have significance." A union official who heard the tape said this week she heard only faint background noise, and the dispatcher who took the call has told others she heard nothing of significance even on a playback of the tape.
The report also fails to detail exactly when and why the dispatcher sought a transfer out of the 911 center. Norwick initially misled reporters into thinking the dispatcher remained at the center. The documents suggest the dispatcher worked three shifts after the Zimmermann call, although this cannot be certain because of the redactions.
The report was redacted by both law enforcement and Dane County officials, said Dane County Corporation Counsel Marcia MacKenzie. Madison police and the Dane County District Attorney's Office redacted the report to ensure nothing would be released that might impair the police investigation. Then, county lawyers redacted the report to ensure nothing was released that would violate personnel policy and to "protect the privacy" of the dispatcher who did not follow policy after Zimmermann called 911 for help.
The released pages include three pages of writing generally describing the events, a two-page "timeline" of the dispatcher's work patterns, four completely blank, redacted pages, two pages of Web pages visited and e-mails sent and received by the dispatcher, 10 pages of generally non-descriptive "call detail" documents, one page of a work schedule for the day, and 17 pages of county policies.
Several pages of the report are completely missing. Other redactions seem unrelated to the police investigation or what county officials say is "personnel" related. The report even blacked out the time of Web visits apparently done for personal use, including visiting the Culvers restaurant website and the local news site Channel3000.com, and the names of people and the times to whom the dispatcher sent and received personal e-mails.
The redacted copy of the report is available in the related downloads at top right.