AUDIO: Cop fired, investigation launched into how dispatcher handled call
(KUTV) A 911 call last week reporting a Monticello police officer had assaulted a man and was possibly driving drunk did not generate a police response until more than ten hours later, and the dispatcher laughed about the call with the police chief, according to county dispatch recordings.
The San Juan County Sheriff's office confirmed to 2News an investigation is underway to determine whether sheriff's employees followed proper procedures when the alleged assault by Officer Cole Young was first reported last week.
Young, 36, was arrested Dec. 3 and booked into jail on suspicion of two misdemeanor counts of assault and criminal trespass. He has since been fired from the Monticello Police Department, Chief Kent Adair said Friday.
But three dispatch audio recordings, obtained by 2News, show it took quite a while for an officer to even deal with the situation.
The original 911 call came late Dec. 2 from Young's estranged wife, who told dispatchers Young was drunk and had just assaulted another man in her home.
"Cole has been told not to enter my home, and there's a dent in my wall because of it," the woman said.
The call was tense at times, as the dispatcher pressed for the name of the man Young had allegedly assaulted.
"Does it really matter?" Young's wife said, adding that her estranged husband left the house driving his Dodge truck while allegedly under the influence of alcohol.
"I'll have somebody come by and talk to you," the dispatcher said before hanging up.
But that didn't happen for hours. The dispatcher called Monticello Police Officer Avery Olsen and explained what Young's wife was alleging.
"You'll definitely want a county guy to take care of it," Olsen said, also advising the dispatcher to call Monticello Police Chief Kent Adair. Olsen did say he would drive by Young's house - reportedly just blocks away from his estranged wife's home - and check to see if his truck was there. According to the dispatch recordings, Olsen did that but never spoke to Young or pursued any further investigation.
The dispatcher then called Chief Adair.
"Oh dear, we have (Young's wife) calling 911," the dispatcher began, explaining the story. She told the chief she had called a San Juan County sheriff's officer who recommended she also call Adair to find out what he wanted to do.
"Yeah, we've been having the county do anything between those two since we have a conflict of interest," Adair said, referring to apparent ongoing issues between Young and his wife during their divorce proceedings.
After that, the call took a bizarre turn, as the dispatcher told Adair she wanted to know who the "male visitor" was that Young allegedly assaulted.
"I tried to get her to tell me who it was," the dispatcher said, "and she just blurted out, what, what difference does that make? She's all mad and pissy."
Chief Adair is then heard on the call laughing.
"I really would like to know who the guy is," the dispatcher continued, also laughing. "Do you know who it is?"
Adair said he did not.
After a bit more chatter, the dispatcher said she would enter the call into the system to "pop open in the morning."
"If she calls back, I'll tell her that an officer will get with her tomorrow," the dispatcher said. Adair agreed, and the call ended.
A San Juan County Sheriff's officer ended up responding the next morning around 10:00 a.m. to investigate the call. Cole Young was booked into jail three hours later. He was released on bail later that same day.
2News asked the San Juan County Sheriff's Office to comment on the dispatch calls and why an officer was not immediately sent over to investigate the reported problem.
"The San Juan County Sheriff's Office takes 911 calls very serious, regardless of the call for help," said Sgt. Marcia Shumway in an email, but she did not specifically address the question. She cited the open investigation and asked 2News not to report the contents of the dispatch calls until that investigation is over. 2News decided not to honor that request due to the public benefit of hearing the content of the calls.
Chief Kent Adair told 2News Friday his department did not respond to the call because of the potential conflict of interest.
"I have no idea why they didn't dispatch a deputy right away," Adair said. However, in the dispatch recording, Adair never raised any objection to the idea of waiting until morning to deal with it.
Adair also told 2News he terminated Young this week following his placement on administrative leave. Young's firing leaves just two officers in the Monticello Police Department - Adair and Olsen - which serves the city of roughly 2,000 people.
When asked why Adair is heard laughing on the phone with the dispatcher about the 911 call, Adair said, "I don't know anything about that."
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