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Monday, May 06, 2013

Barren County Dispatcher Recalls No Mention Of Suspect Being Armed, During Trial Of Sheriff, Chris Eaton And His Deputies.

Dispatcher recounts radio calls during chase

BOWLING GREEN — Ashley Burrow, a former Glasgow Police Department dispatcher who was on duty Feb. 24, 2010, took the witness stand Monday morning during the federal trial against Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton, deputy Aaron Bennett and Barren-Edmonson Drug Task Force detective Eric Guffey, to describe her job during the chase of Billy Randall Stinnett.

Burrow was the primary dispatcher to enter information into the Feb. 24, 2010, CAD (computer-aided dispatch) report, a dispatcher’s log which has been referenced by attorneys throughout the trial. Unlike most of the prosecution witnesses, Burrow has not been part of the investigation for the last three years. She was contacted by U.S. Department of Justice civil rights prosecutors last Wednesday and asked to testify. The first time Burrow listened to the Feb. 24, 2010, dispatch recordings was last Thursday, when an FBI agent visited her home and played them for her, she said.

Entries into a CAD report are typed by a dispatcher, and time-stamped by the computer when they are typed, Burrow said. While the information is typed “within seconds” of the dispatcher receiving it, Burrow said, the CAD entries reflect the time the dispatcher received the information, not exactly when the event occurred.

Not all the information received by dispatchers is typed into a CAD report, Burrow said. Several recordings from Feb. 24, 2010, that have been played throughout the trial were not entered into the CAD report, because the information was not relevant, was chatter between officers, or any other reason at the dispatcher’s discretion, according to Burrow. A recording that has been described during trial as Eaton screaming is not included in the CAD report because Burrow considered it incoherent. Sometimes, there is just no time to type something.

“It’s really busy in dispatch, if information is coming in back-to-back, we may not have time to enter the information,” Burrow said.

Eaton’s screams, as well as a call that reported Stinnett had hit a house, were recorded before the radio call that Stinnett was on foot and not included in the CAD report, prosecutor Sanjay Patel said. According to him, that put the start of the foot pursuit closer to the call that reported Stinnett was driving down Cherry Street toward Columbia Avenue. That adds about another two minutes to the time frame in question, when the defendants allegedly used excessive force to apprehend Stinnett.

There is no recording that documents Eaton saying the suspect was armed , Patel said, and Burrow said that if she had heard that call, it would have been entered in the CAD report. Eaton wrote in his Barren County Sheriff’s Office report following the incident that he made that statement into the radio, and Bennett wrote in his report that he heard Eaton say that.

On Feb. 24, 2010, the GPD dispatch center was monitoring dispatches from three radio channels, including GPD, BCSO and Cave City, Burrow said, along with phone calls from citizens. At least one citizen phone call was recorded around the time of Stinnett’s crash and foot pursuit. Recordings that were not entered into the CAD report do not have time stamps, so there is no way to determine how many of those transmissions were happening at the same time, Burrow confirmed to defense attorney J. Guthrie True during cross examination. Burrow had help from another dispatcher, but she told defense attorney Buddy Alexander that it was possible some information relayed across the radio channel may have been missed while taking a phone call.

“When you’re on the phone, you can’t fully focus on the radio,” Burrow said, adding that BCSO officers are on the same channel, so it was possible Bennett caught something from Eaton that she missed.



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