The family of the Madison man found dead at Lake Edge Park in November 2008 is seeking damages from the Dane County 911 system, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and the 911 system dispatcher who allegedly mishandled the 911 non-emergency call placed that evening.

On Nov. 3, two noise complaint phone calls were placed to the Public Safety Communication’s non-emergency line at approximately 9:20 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Although the anonymous caller reported escalating violence on the phone, the police arrived at the scene 90 minutes after the initial non-emergency call, when they received an emergency phone call from a cell phone reporting a dead body. The body was identified as Mark Gregory Johnson.

According to the notice of injury and claim, Gregory Johnson, the father of the victim, said the 911 dispatcher did not follow proper procedures and the center violated policy.

“On the recording of the first call, the dispatcher assures the caller ‘absolutely’ someone will be sent. ‘We’ll get someone over there,’ the call-taker promises,” Johnson said in the notice.

According to the claim filed in conjunction with the first notice, between 9:19 p.m. and 9:27 p.m. two East District Madison Police Department units were available for dispatch. However, during the time period, the police dispatcher was tied up with a radio call regarding a man armed with a gun and was following procedure.

At 9:25 p.m., another dispatcher returned from a break and released the available police units to other crimes, the report said.

When the Lake Edge Park neighbor redialed the 911 system reporting yet another increase in volume and violence, a second 911 operator placed the call first in the dispatch queue but failed to change the priority of the call from “noise complaint” to “disturbance,” the notice said.

“I think the bottom line is we clearly got a dispatcher that failed to follow protocol or that protocol wasn’t established properly,” said Nancy Mistele, Falk’s challenger for Dane County executive in the upcoming April 7 election.

This is not the first incident in which the 911 system has been under scrutiny for the mishandling of a phone call placed to the Center. On April 2, a call placed from the cell phone of University of Wisconsin junior Brittany Zimmermann was mishandled. She was later found dead in her apartment.

On Jan. 13, the parents and fianc? of Zimmermann filed suit against Falk, Dane County and 911 Center dispatcher Rita Gahagan for negligence.

According to Mistele, the 911 Center clearly failed to follow policy, adding Falk did not provide the necessary tools the center needs to run properly.

In the second phase of the Dane County 911 Center audit released in February, an employee survey showed 63 percent of 911 employees do no think the current process of answering emergency calls is efficient and effective.

“From adding staff and technology to implementing a ‘when in doubt’ dispatch policy and calling for a center board review of all police dispatching policies, the county executive has taken a number of steps to restoring public confidence in the 911 Center,” Falk spokesperson Josh Wescott said in an e-mail to The Badger Herald.