911 call center director investigates serious delay in police reponse to teen's drowning

TULSA - The director of Tulsa's 911 call center is investigating a serious delay in police response to what ended with a teen's drowning.

On Saturday night, 14-year-old Dario Hogan went missing after he was last seen near a north Tulsa creek. His body was found 12 hours later.

Two 911 calls were made, but director Terry Baxter says police weren't dispatched to the scene until nearly an hour after the initial call for help. 

Baxter says jobs are now on the line and policies are changing.

"I'll be honest with you," he said. "At this time, all the delays can't be accounted for."

At 7:59 p.m. Saturday, Hogan's mom called 911. Officials say she told the operator her son was missing and was last seen playing in a creek.

Baxter says this was a missing persons call, which normally isn't high priority, but since this was near a creek the operator upped the importance.

At this point, the operator sends the information to a dispatcher, who is supposed to send officers to the scene, but that didn't happen.

"[The dispatcher] didn't even look at the call," he said. "That indicates to me she couldn't see it because she had the window sized improperly or she just missed it."

Nearly an hour later a second 911 call was made -- a man thinks three children fell into a creek -- and a different dispatcher received the information.

Immediately fire crews were alerted, but police still haven't been informed of the first call from Hogan's mom.

A full 58 minutes after the first 911 call, a computer links the two calls, identifying them as in the same area.

Police are finally sent to the creek.

"I cannot tell you why those people who could have done something quicker didn't do anything quicker," said Baxter.

Still, Baxter doesn't think the delay caused Hogan's death. He says Hogan's mom didn't immediately call 911 after her son went missing.

"By the time anyone was called, the situation was unfortunate enough that it would have been very difficult to intervene and get a positive outcome," he said.

Baxter is now pushing for 911 changes. He's asking for two different priorities for missing persons calls -- one for someone in danger and another for a runaway.

"Sometimes it's just human error," he said. "We haven't gotten to conclude that yet, but [the dispatcher] could have made a mistake."

Baxter also says police could have assigned themselves to the call, which no one did.

The 911 director has meetings planned Friday to speak with everyone involved to determine what went wrong.

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