A former Dane County dispatcher criticized her old boss, after mishandling a 911 call from murder victim Brittany Zimmermann. Numerous records have recently been made public about the April murder in Madison, including e-mails ( PDF ) in which Rita Gahagan railed on the 911 center's director at the time, Joe Norwick. She said Norwick should have told the public about," the failings of the new telephone system, and the cheap headsets and the 20-year-old connections they plug into."
Authorities have said the dispatcher never heard anything on the other end when Zimmermann called, she never called the victim's cell phone back after the call ended and she never called Madison Police to respond. Gahagan said police don't react well when responding to cell calls that don't include precise addresses.
County officials say there were no equipment problems and claim they're not sure why Gahagan didn't hear screams in the background when Zimmermann called. A police detective mentioned those screams in a recently-opened search warrant. The call itself has not been made public.
County executive spokesman Josh Wescott said the 911 phone system was installed in 2006, and dispatchers who wanted new headsets got them. He blamed the veteran operator's e-mails on," frustration by the employee who at the time was understandably under pressure by the circumstances."
Gahagan is now in a different county job. Norwick resigned since the incident. The Zimmermann murder remains unsolved.