Tape of Godfrey's 911 call shows dispatcher's delay

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2002

ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police dispatchers disregarded the address Patti Godfrey gave them during a 911 call, relying instead on inadequate computer information, a tape of the call shows.

A badly injured Godfrey waited 48 minutes for help after she reported that she and her husband, retired public safety commissioner Glenn Godfrey, had been shot inside their Eagle River home. Glenn Godfrey had been killed, although Patti Godfrey didn't know it at the time.

Minutes into the 12:30 a.m. call Aug. 3, Patti Godfrey gave dispatchers the name and phone number of her daughter and repeatedly begged them to call her. Dispatchers didn't make that call, and they didn't ask Godfrey for directions to her house until about 40 minutes into the call.

Glenn Godfrey was shot to death by Karen Brand, who apparently was distraught over the end of an affair. Brand, 33, shot Patti four times. Brand killed herself before officers arrived. Police said she had entered the Godfreys' home while they were out and waited in a closet.

"I've been shot, please," Godfrey, 52, said in her first words to the 911 dispatcher.

Dispatcher Billy Miller, one of two who talked to Godfrey during the call, asked who shot her, where Karen was, what Karen looked like, where the gun was.

Less than two minutes later, Godfrey said, "I ... she just shot herself, I believe."

Godfrey at that point was alert and responsive to questions. She also confirmed the Godfreys' address: 22953 Eagle River Road, at Mile 4.6.

But dispatchers did not ask her for directions, which they typically do, Deputy Police Chief Mark Mew said. Because the address Godfrey gave did not appear in the database, the computer gave similar but incorrect addresses and officers could not find the right house.

Several minutes into the call, believing officers were at Godfrey's door, dispatchers assured her help was just outside and told her to hang on.

Godfrey often prayed.

"I'm begging," she said. "Save Glenn's life. Save Glenn's life. Lord Jesus, please help us. Save Glenn's life. Give us another chance. Lord Jesus. Please God, help him."

She described her injuries in detail. One bullet had ripped through her stomach, another through her leg, and her right arm was nearly severed, she said. Later, doctors had to augment the bone of her right arm with a metal plate.

More than once during the 911 call, Godfrey announced she would die soon.

As officers failed to show up. Godfrey sounded more angry, telling them they weren't helping her and they were lying about officers being just outside the house.

Late in the call, Godfrey hung up on the operators. They called her back immediately and heard the sound of dialing. When Godfrey realized she was on the phone with them, she again killed the connection.

When dispatchers successfully got through again, dispatcher Jeri Wallin told Godfrey they needed her to tell them exactly how to get to her home.

"We can't find your house!" Wallin said urgently.

Godfrey gave broken directions, mumbling.

By the time officers arrived, it was nearly 1:19 a.m.

Deputy Police Chief Mew said the department is conducting an internal review.



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