Gatineau to hire 911 dispatchers in wake of slow response to 2017 homicide

Gatineau to hire 911 dispatchers in wake of slow response to 2017 homicide

Fifteen months after a dispatcher's error slowed police response to what would turn out to be a homicide scene, Gatineau's city council has OK'd the hiring of more than 10 employees to join the force's emergency dispatch team.

The move comes after the city awarded Thérèse​ Gauvreau's family $115,000 in July last year, not long after police admitted they made a mistake by taking more than 30 minutes to respond to the elderly woman's homicide in January.

Gauvreau, 83, was killed at a home at 171 boul. de la Cité-des-jeunes on Jan. 18, 2017. Police were called to the neighbourhood after receiving a 911 call about an agitated man seen acting suspiciously. When officers arrived on scene, they found a man at the back of the home. Soon after, officers discovered Gauvreau's body.

According to a report into the police response, the dispatcher who took the call made an error when coding it. The call wasn't listed as a priority, which delayed the police response by 31 minutes.

The dispatcher no longer works for the police service.

Although the police chief said there was no way to know for certain whether a quicker response would have saved Gauvreau's life, he called for more staff and other improvements to its 911 call centre to help prevent similar errors.

The new staff are expected to be in place by Oct. 15.