Clock-watching cops blew off DV call to do paperwork, wait for shift to end
The victim, bloody from an assault that had just occurred, had to wait 44 minutes until officers from the next shift responded.
It took Seattle police 44 minutes to respond to a brutal domestic assault, according to a disciplinary report released last Friday. Though officers were available, the call came in during a shift change, and the two dispatched—Ron Willis and Richard Norris—chose to wait until the next watch logged in.
In January, dispatchers received a 911 call from a woman screaming for assistance while being beaten by a man. Though her assailant left the scene, the assault left her bloody and injured. Willis and Norris took the call at around 3 a.m. The GPS data showed that the officers’ cruiser had been sitting at the North Precinct for nearly 30 minutes.
Eight minutes after logging onto the call, Willis asked the dispatcher, “Can this wait for first watch?” claiming he and Norris still had paperwork to finish from an unrelated burglary. At 3:19 a.m., the officers, still in the parking lot, told the dispatcher, “FYI, several 1st watchers are walking in the parking lot.”
Ten minutes later, the officers cleared the DV assault call without leaving the North Precinct parking. Another pair of officers ultimately responded at 3:40 a.m.
The Office of Police Accountability sustained all findings against both officers for unprofessionalism and failure to perform their duties. Willis, the primary officer, received a four-day suspension, and Norris was suspended for one day.
Though the call was priority one, Willis told the OPA that he did not consider it an emergency because the man had left the scene. OPA disagreed, noting, “the offender could have returned and further injured the reportedly bloody victim because [Ron Willis and Richard Norris] prioritized completing paperwork over immediately aiding the distressed caller.”
This year, the OPA investigated several similar complaints. In July, the department handed down seven-day suspensions to officers Michael Griffin and Terry Persun, who went out to dinner instead of responding to a domestic violence call. In another case, three officers took more than 20 minutes to respond to a shooting that had just occurred. Their GPS showed they were sitting at the SPOG headquarters a mile away.
His timesheet showed that he worked more than 24 hours in a single day on six days and reported between 90 and 123 hours for seven straight weeks. The OPA found he violated department overtime rules but argued that it couldn’t prove or disprove allegations of timecard fraud. Willis made $362,000 in 2022 and was paid for upwards of 4,600 hours.
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