Who made it first to Mission Bay drowning scene?

Emergency response time transcript easy to misread

Model Yacht Pond
  • Model Yacht Pond
  • Google Maps image by Louis Canedo

A new twist in the March drowning death of a two-year-old in Mission Bay: the 911 system record of the calls were requested by San Diego attorney Cory Briggs, according to the city’s NextRequest document system.

The Model Yacht Pond is on an island in Mission Bay.

The Model Yacht Pond is on an island in Mission Bay.

The system publishes all the requests it responds to once the city’s part of the work is complete. Normally, the name of the requesters is withheld, but the response to Briggs included a personal note from city employee Lea Bernal-Fields, asking Briggs to check his office’s IT system for its ability to get emails.

Reached via email, Briggs confirmed he requested the documents. He indicated that he is representing lifeguard Sgt. Ed Harris and alleged that the city is retaliating against Harris. After the two-year-old’s death, Harris — who is also the head of the lifeguard union, Teamsters Local 911 — went public with allegations that the fire department’s decision to route calls for water rescues to the main dispatch instead of going directly to lifeguards had contributed to the boy’s near drowning, which resulted in his death a few days later. The fire department angrily denied the allegations.

“To politicize a family’s personal tragedy by all there was a delayed response having to do with a 911 call transfer was disgraceful,” fire chief Brian Fennessy said at a March press conference. “There was no delayed response.”

Mónica Muñoz

Mónica Muñoz

Fire department spokeswoman Mónica Muñoz wrote in an email that sending fire-department paramedics was the right decision because callers told the dispatcher the child was out of the water. “This was a call for paramedics. Not a water rescue,” she wrote. Muñoz said lifeguards were notified at the same time the fire department was notified.

The documents the city provided to Briggs include a rough printout and a polished summary of the computer-aided dispatch calls and responses to emergency calls from the Model Yacht Pond just south of Paradise Point resort.

On March 12, just after 6 p.m., 911 dispatch received a series of calls about a “juvenile male” drowning in what was described as a lake. The first call came in at 6:19 p.m., and it appears that San Diego Fire and Rescue medics were dispatched and on their way at 6:20 p.m. When the call for help reached the lifeguards is in dispute. An out-of-order entry says they were notified at 6:19 p.m. and the fire department's spokeswoman says the notification simultaneously went to lifeguards and paramedics. They first show up in the column for responding agencies after a police department referral two minutes later, at 6:21 p.m. The lifeguards appear to have recognized the description as the north side of Model Yacht Pond.

Lifeguards arrived on scene at 6:24 and paramedics arrived at 6:27, according to the dispatch printout. In the meantime, a medic was on the phone with the man who reported the drowning, coaching civilians at the scene to do CPR on the boy. A note from the dispatcher describes the scene as sounding “extremely chaotic.” The transcripts indicate that the boy had a pulse when he was transported to UCSD hospital. He died three days later.

Asked to help accurately read the transcripts, Muñoz was unable to find time on Tuesday and Wednesday. She cautioned that people — including this reporter — often misread these reports or don’t understand them. Provided with a simplified timeline prepared by this reporter, Muñoz said it was inaccurate (for that reason, I didn’t include that timeline and instead am providing the documents).

None of the dispatch center recordings were released to Briggs or anyone else, Muñoz said. The fire department does not comment on lawsuits, she added.

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A lesson on how to read incident history: 911 calls in the City are answered by the SDPD communications division, then forwarded to the appropriate dept.

The incident number #P1703####### = year/month and the number of the incident for that month. So we know this was incident 0020823 in March of 2017. But there is also a second record, 0020827 as reference as “Xref”. So to see all both records should be pulled to be sure.

CT14 = the physical position of the “call taker” on logged into the CAD or computer aided dispatch system. 8838 = the employee ID#. RC01= the radio dispatcher position RC01 typically dispatches units assigned the the PD’s beach command. 8814 = the employee ID of the radio dispatcher. LD01= lead disp - sometimes a supervising dispatcher. Initial Type = after gathering info from the 911 caller, the CT formats the call and assigns a call type. In this case 1146 which is the 10-11 radio code for report of a death. PRI = E emergency or the HIGHEST priority call typically requires immediate dispatch and can mean others (within the dispatch centers(fire,police & lifeguard) can be involved via an intercom. DISPO = Final Disposition = R = a report was made. 1stcolumn: TIME HACKs. /1819 = 6:19PM. Time hacks with a question mark = added after that minute had passed. Could have been edited at anytime. I.e. time hack added manuallly. It not unusual to add details momentarily lost during the chaos of an incident. 2nd column: ID# of employee entering data.

3rd column: description of event or person involved. E.G. “change” change location from Miss bay park to “near the lake” this case the model yacht pond. “ASSTR” assisting unit. “DISP” primary dispatched PD unit. - 124v2 = beat 124- V: one officer) 2 second watch work hours.

Events with an asterisk = entered from the field via the user’s mobile data computer. E.g. *ONSCNE 124V2 pressed a button indicating he/she had arrived on scene. May have also made a radio transmission, but not required to do so. However, using the radio let’s others, I.e. (within your department) you’ve arrived in this example. Police and FIRE/LG unit are NOT in the same talk group so they CANNOT hear one another IN MOST INSTANCES like this call. All other entries are made in the dispatch center by the corresponding employee ID number.

Finally besides the incident history in the CAD, there is also a case number for a report assigned . “ASNCAS” in this case it’s 17, the year, and case number 0009894 or the 9,894th case report of the 2017 calendar year.
What we dont have here is the FIRE CAD’s dispatch incident history. What might also be interesting to hear, is the intercom recordings between call takers, PD dispatch and FIRE dispatch

I find Muñoz refusal to explain the Incident History report very disappointing. As a spokesperson that’s part of her job. She purposely obstructed your reporting of this event in my opinion. If you need to know more let me know.

BTW from the PD incident history, lifeguards were first on scene. But, as I mentioned in the previous post, we do not have the FIRE department’s incident history.

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