911/police radio talk released - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

911/police radio talk released

November 10, 2005

Albany -- As an Albany cab driver was attacked and repeatedly stabbed, a South Albany woman saw the headlights of his car as it rolled behind her house. She called 911, and tonight we hear that call.

The 911 tapes reveal a poor communication between a dispatcher and police officer. The tapes also show the police officer spent a little over six minutes at the scene.

Maurice Howard called police at 10:39 Friday night when she heard and saw a vehicle behind her home. "I saw car lights, so I don't know what would be going on back there, 'cause it's kind of in a wooded area. No alley."

"Thought that was just so odd, you know, cause nobody's ever back there on car at night."

She requested a police officer and gave the exact location of where she saw the car go. "It's between 404 and 406 in the back of Wadkins Avenue."

Officer Corey Johnson was dispatched nearly 30 minutes later. Although the caller was clear, the dispatcher, was not: "404 Wadkins, advising that vehicle's riding around in the area."

You'll hear them refer to a signal 14, police talk for suspicious vehicle. "There was no description of signal 14, and signal 14 is possibly gone."

When officer Johnson arrived at the scene, he spoke to Maurice Howard about what she saw. Then drove behind the homes and inspected the area, but didn't get out of his unit. When he didn't see a car, he left.

When Howard got home from work the next afternoon, she contacted 911 again. "Yes, I made a call last night to the police department in reference to a noise I heard out back of my house, in a wooded area, and I told them I saw car lights and an officer did come out, he said he would investigate, but he didn't let me know what he found or anything, so I just got in from work a little while ago, and there is a taxi out in the wooded area."

"I see a pair of pants laying... a pair of pants laying on that pile." Another unit was dispatched to 404 Wadkins Avenue. This time, the message relayed was much more specific. "Be advised the taxi is going to be in a wooded area behind her house, also be advised we have a report of a missing person that was in the taxi from last night."

When the officer arrived, she found the taxi, and much more. "Go ahead and send us a supervisor out here, it's going to be a code zero."

Code Zero is police talk for a deceased person. J. M. King, had been murdered, and was found on the ground next to his taxi.

Throughout the week, WALB NEWS 10 has contacted the Albany Police Department about the response of Officer Johnson.

They continue to defend his handling of this call.

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