Report on Anchorage dispatch system faults city

Posted: Friday, November 29, 2002

ANCHORAGE - Anchorage officials knew of serious flaws in the police dispatch center but failed to fix them, according to a state investigation into Patti Godfrey's 48-minute wait for help after she was shot in August.

In its 36-page report, the Office of Victims' Rights said the delay violated Godfrey's right under state law to receive immediate medical assistance as a crime victim.

Patti Godfrey was shot four times and her husband, Glenn, the state's retired public safety commissioner, was killed shortly after midnight Aug. 3 by a woman he had had an affair with. Patti Godfrey called 911 as the shooter, Karen Brand, rushed to reload. Brand killed herself minutes later.

As Godfrey lay bleeding, her arm nearly severed, she confirmed her correct address, 22953 Eagle River Road, with the 911 call taker and pleaded for help. But the dispatch computer suggested a different address, 22953 Eagle Glacier Loop, which doesn't exist. Police scrambled in the dark looking for it. Officers finally were led to the Godfrey home by an off-duty detective who lived nearby.

The municipality acknowledged it made mistakes, but dismissed the report as biased, incomplete, inaccurate and counterproductive, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The city blamed the delay on "a unique and unprecedented confluence of electronic, data and human errors in the police emergency response system, some of which were not and could not have been known to" police.

The phantom address was suggested because of a technical problem that affected 14 lots in the Godfrey neighborhood, city officials have said. Among nine recommendations, the report urges the city to invest in upgrades to its 911 system.

The report is the first investigation released by the 5-month-old legislative Office of Victims' Rights.

"While the delayed response by police and paramedics was due to a combination of different factors ... they were all foreseeable difficulties that could have been prevented," the report says.

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