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Review opened after complaints over dispatcher in 911 call from Richard Sherman’s wife

Richard Sherman, right, walks with his wife Ashley, Friday, July 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The King County Sheriff’s Office has opened an administrative review into the conduct of a dispatcher during a 911 call placed by Richard Sherman’s wife last week.

Hours before Sherman was arrested in front of his in-laws’ house in Redmond, his wife, Ashley Moss, had called 911, telling the dispatcher that she needed police at her house immediately, and that her husband was being aggressive.

“He’s threatening to kill himself. He’s sent text messages saying he’s going to hang himself,” she said in the call, at one point telling the dispatcher, “this is a [expletive] emergency.”

The dispatcher can then be heard raising her voice, saying, “Listen to me, I’m handling this — you need to stop telling me that,” after attempting to interrupt Moss several times while asking for her address and other details surrounding the incident.

According to former King County Sheriff John Urquhart, 911 dispatchers are trained to prioritize getting key information to relay to officers.

“You really don’t have time to stop, and I guess I would call it hand-holding, as terrible as that sounds — you have to get the information,” he told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show.

“Remember, all this information is coming in and it’s not like (the dispatcher) is sitting there  waiting for the call to end,” he continued. “She is typing continuously. She is sending information to the dispatcher basically simultaneously as she’s talking on the phone, and the dispatcher then has already dispatched the deputies to whatever address she had even without all the information yet.”

Many of those who heard the call filed complaints in the days that followed, alleging that the dispatcher’s behavior was unprofessional and lacked compassion for Moss’s situation. A large portion of those complaints were filed with the City of Redmond’s Communication’s Center, which noted Monday that it is “not connected to the King County Sheriff’s Office.”

“The City of Redmond was not involved in the recordings highlighted by the complaints,” it said in a news release, going on to note that a review of the call has also been opened by the King County Sheriff’s Office.

That review is expected to take “several months to conclude.”

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