Tapes show mix-up

911 reports about trashed house not relayed to officers

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911 tapes show a man called to report a destructive party. That information was not relayed to police, and the damage was not discovered until the next day.

911 tapes show a man called to report a destructive party. That information was not relayed to police, and the damage was not discovered until the next day.

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The home at 2075 Walton Creek Road sits in the same condition Monday it was in when owner Jon Wade discovered on April 4 it had been trashed by tenants during a party the night before.

— A "demolition party" nearly destroyed a home on Walton Creek Road despite multiple complaints to Routt County Communications about the party, records show.

On Monday, the Pilot & Today obtained audio recordings from Routt County Communications that contain conversations among dispatchers, police and two people complaining about a party April 3 at 2075 Walton Creek Road.

The 911 audiotapes show two people called Routt County Dispatch to report a violent party at the house and that "the house was getting ripped apart." But despite the calls, the dispatcher reported the situation to police as a loud party.

It was not until the next day that police and one of the new owners of the property discovered how destructive the party truly was.

"The builder thinks it could be $200,000 (to repair the home), but we just don't know yet," said Jon Wade, who had closed on the house with investment partners just hours before the party at the house. Wade said the tenants he inherited essentially threw a demolition party at the house.

Steamboat Springs Police Capt. Joel Rae said the three officers on duty that night would have made the call a priority had they known more about what the callers reported.

"It would have warranted immediate response based on the call," Rae said Monday.

Windows, doors, appliances, carpet and fixtures had been destroyed. Graffitti, trash and beer bottles were everywhere. When Wade and police discovered the damage, the tenants had left.

"I've been trying to deal with this in good humor, but I don't know how that will be at the end of this week and we find out what insurance will and won't cover," Wade said Monday.

Police know who the tenants were, and Detective Jerry Stabile said Monday he is meeting with the District Attorney's Office on Wednesday to discuss appropriate charges.

The calls

The first call about the party came in at 11:32 p.m. The male caller, who did not want to tell dispatchers his name, called from the Thunder Mountain Condominiums across the street.

"There is a party going on that just turned rumpus and violent," the man told the dispatcher, adding that there were about 20 people in the parking area and people were fighting.

Rae said the two officers on duty and in Steamboat at the time were tied up with a domestic violence incident. The dispatcher told Sgt. Nick Bosick there was a loud party and people were seen fighting in the parking lot.

Officer Doug Scherar checked on the party at 12:16 a.m. "It looks like its breaking up right now," Scherar told the dispatcher. "There are a lot of people leaving."

John O'Carroll lives in the apartment below where the party took place and called Routt County Communications at 12:52 a.m. to report the party.

He told the dispatcher he had just walked by the party and described it: "It sounds like they are being very destructive. All I know is things are getting torn up. It sounds like things are getting ripped apart. It is more like construction noise, more like destruction. I don't know how else to explain it, but people are tearing apart a house basically.

"It looked like a very large group of people. Quite honestly, vandalism is the best word I can think of for it at this point in time."

"Be advised we have a noise complaint pending," the dispatcher told Bosick.

There was no information relayed to officers, who were responding to reports of a fire at the time, about the destruction.

Twenty minutes after the second call came in, Bosick drove by the party.

"That party is over," Bosick said to dispatch. "There is no one there."

Police did not discover the destruction until 6:18 p.m. the next day, when police met Wade at the house.

Communication

breakdown

On Monday, Wade said he was disappointed the information about the destruction had not been relayed to police.

"I have a hard time understanding how that could be a miscommunication," Wade said. "Damage could have been prevented, and they could have seen the guy swinging the hammer and cuffed him."

Rae said officers on duty "acted appropriately based on the information they knew."

"They were dispatched to a noise complaint and that's what they thought was going on," Rae said. "We have to act on the info we know."

He said there was "a breakdown in communications."

"We obviously have issues to work out," Rae said. "I don't want to place blame on anyone. It's what can we do to improve communications."

Revisiting policies

Routt County Comm-

unications officials already have begun revisiting its policies and procedures in light of a church skit that left some children and adults fearing for their safety last month.

The skit involved an actor who was posing as a homeless man with a gun. Some members of the youth group, which consists of about 100 teens, were not aware the gun was fake and reportedly dove under chairs thinking what was happening during the skit was real.

The church had informed communications the skit was being performed, but a lack of communication with police could have resulted in someone being injured if an officer had responded to the church and not known the skit was fake.

David Hill was named the director of Routt County Communications after the church incident.

Rae said he met with Hill on Monday to talk about the April 3 incident.

"There were some concerns about getting clear and accurate information," Rae said.

"We both agree that we can strive to improve communications," Hill said.

Hill said he believed the calls relating to the demolition party were handled correctly by dispatchers.

"It was simply a matter of communicating," Hill said. "We made the right calls all the way around as far as the priority of the calls."

He did not think the dispatchers were to blame for anything.

"We can second guess all we want, but the dispatchers who made the calls that evening, I'm not in the position to second guess them."

Comments

steamboatsprings 7 years, 8 months ago

I'm sorry that all of this has transpired here in Steamboat but at the same time it has shown us how great people in Steamboat are. I have gotten at least 30 calls from people that I do and don't know offering to help us along with many more people that have come up and offered similar thoughts.

No one thinks this is routine or acceptable here in Steamboat and everyone thinks it is important to keep it that way.

I am truly disappointed that Routt County communications lost so much information between the call and what they relayed to the police. It is hard to understand how they can say there was a "a breakdown in communications." and at the same time say "Hill said he believed the calls relating to the demolition party were handled correctly by dispatchers."

THEY NEED TO LEARN TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY when something doesn't go right or things will never be fixed and some innocent person will end up paying the price in a more serious way than we are.

They clearly dropped the ball on this one and I had the same experience the next day when I had to call several times to get someone out over 2 hours later and the last call they had to re-enter the call because it hadn't gotten entered.

I suspect that they didn't take any of these calls seriously since that is the only plausible explanation for this kind of mistake. I think that we are lucky no one was injured or it would have been a very long time before they got help.

Jon Wade

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Camo181 7 years, 8 months ago

Are we missing something here? Did any of the responding officers knock on the door to actually find out what was going on inside the house or to warn the occupants of the house of noise complaints received by dispatch? What caused these party people to be so destructive? This isn't "normal."

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thecondoguy1 7 years, 8 months ago

This is awful, another reason I only buy owner occupied or vacant property, tenants can be savages when provoked, they may have had a beef with the previous owner and took it out on you the new guy. Always choose your tenants, don't let them choose you. It's a shame but no condo insurance will cover most of this damage. You can sue the perps till the cows come home, I doubt they have anything. I always require my tenants to carry a condo policy, that includes liability. Get yourself a blanket policy and hope you are covered if this happens again, deliberate or accidental. Also a nice fat security deposit. Lot of luck at all you do.............

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jlkar 7 years, 8 months ago

Routt Co. dispatch has some major attitude problems. They constantly act like it is a big inconvenience when you call anything in. There was no miscommunication here. Laziness, thats all this amounts to. What a shame.

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citizenjohnq 7 years, 8 months ago

I agree that this should have been handled differently by RC Comm. And I certainly feel badly for Mr. Wade, no one deserves this type of treatment. There are two things that have come to my mind in reading this story and everyone's comments.

  1. If you watch the video, and listen to the tape of the call dubbed over it, the caller doesn't seem to really have a sense of urgency in his voice. To me he sounded a bit out of it himself. That being said- I wonder if the dispatcher got that same impression. It may have effected the "break down of the communication".

  2. I was an EMT for over a year and know that calls into dispatch centers are "triaged" into their repsective severities. For instance: a call about a a fight in progress gets a higher priority than say someone reporting a lost cell phone or stolen purse.

My point is this: It seems that the caller didn't communicate clearly the severity of the situation. On the other hand, the dispatcher appears to have made an inappropriate judgement about either the caller or the situation entirely, and consequently did not communicate properly to the officers on patrol that evening.

Camo makes a good point when asking why the officer(s), when they did arrive, didn't knock on the door and warn the occupants about being loud. And to answer Camo's question about what could cause so much destruction, and I'm really just putting this out there, but do you think it could be alcohol and/or drugs combined with people lacking the moral or ethical fortitude to know that what they're doing is completely wrong? ( I hope my sarcasm shows, because I'm laying it on pretty thick.)

I'm not saying that Mr. Wade should have seen this coming, he'd only owned the property a few hours. And I admire his effort to take the high road and try to find humor in the situation.

On a completely different thought: I don't know how anyone can honestly be so surprised that this could happen in Steamboat. There is a large percentage of people in this area that think that getting wasted and "socially participating" in illegal drug use is perfectly acceptable.

Unfortunately, for some reason, people seem to get upset when someone says that this type of behavior (not demolishing a house but the getting completely smashed thing, etc.) is not acceptable. Those people that would be upset about a "whistle blower" or "the moral police" should think that many time its the whistle blowers that are the voice of reason and tend to keep things from getting to such catastophic ends, like what we've seen in this instance.

I truly feel badly for Mr. Wade. As I stated before, not one person deserves this. I hope the best for him in this situation.

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agentofchange 7 years, 8 months ago

Too bad Jon & Co., however... did you interview the tenants prior to purchase ? Probably not. Why not ?

I know you haven't been here long... this is not "NIRVANA" !! Sad to to say, but it's not. You're in "The Business", and I know you won't let tenants slide by again. They come in all shapes and sizes, flavors and types. Lesson learned. With your resourses, you will overcome.

Now as far as the PD is concerned... "ineptitude and laziness". And I guarantee somebody was being pulled over in violation of the fourth amendment, instead of responding to the "disorderly household" calls. Sorry Jon, welcome to a resort town.

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inmate2007 7 years, 8 months ago

Did Jon and Co. do a walk thru (with video documentation, hopefully) before the closing? Or did they just take the previous owners word that the property was in mint condition?

Did Jon and Co. notify the tenants of their contact info? During the walk thru you could just drop business card and if you had why didn't the lower tenant call the new landlord instead of 911 to tell him of the situation?

Sorry to say but I can't think of a criminal charge for what the legal tenants might have done; at least not one that would benefit the landlord, it's all civil and the PD should stop wasting their time pandering to an oblivious buyer.

Of course if the PD does find a charge and gets a conviction I might get back into the rental business with my new enforcers....................

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Inquisitor 7 years, 8 months ago

An interview with the tenants would have revealed nothing - unless of course the tenants revealed they were not upstanding citizens and planned to demolish the place..... And the landlord showing up in the middle of the party would have likely caused more violence, not an amicable end to what was going on. The tenants behavior is criminal - and should be treated as such. The police needed to be, and should have been involved. The "breakdown in communications" needs to be identified to prevent future "breakdowns in communications." The tenant, Routt County Communications, and the police should all be held accountable. The tenant for criminal behavior and reparations, RCC for not concisely communicating, and the police for not being bothered to knock on a door when there's been a disturbance call. There is plenty of blame to go around, and tolerance will only lead to another similar incident.

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agentofchange 7 years, 8 months ago

Inquisitor; you are correct, there should be no tolerance in this case, on any level. It does pay to know your tenants however.

I trust the PD and DA do a better job on this deal, than they did on the "Dumpster Diving Rainbows" !!

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jeannie berger 7 years, 8 months ago

Not that this is an excuse,but my young friends tell me that the tenants were told the new owners of the house were going to bulldoze it and a larger more elaborate home/structure was to be built. That may be part of the reason for the destruction.
Not that I condone the behavior of the party goers.

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thecondoguy1 7 years, 8 months ago

I am shakin in my boots now, I hope like the dickens nobody has told any of my tenants I intend to do a tear down or rehab, help like that I don't need, Agent,,,,, you are on the money again...........

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OnTheBusGus 7 years, 8 months ago

dreamriver- I heard the same thing from my younger friends, that the outgoing owner said the place was going to be leveled and a new structure built in it's place. That may explain the demolishing, but still, that a LOT of destruction!! Also, I really cannot believe that all that graffiti appeared overnight. Looks like it was an ongoing project.

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inmate2007 7 years, 8 months ago

Agent and Inquisitor personally I'm still a blank, what is the criminal charge? Unless the tenants where setup to do this destruction I just don't see a criminal charge available. I'm not justifying what they did (I'm disgusted), I'm only questioning the reasonable course of action available for the owner/community and wasting police/DA time is not one unless you know sometime I don't.

Personally I have never had a tenant that took good care of a property and on the last day trashed it, even when I sold it out from under them. I quit the business because of the way tenants took care of the property's and their general bad behavior. But I would gladly reenter property management if the police would be my enforcers protecting the condition of my holdings while insulating me from tenants best described as trash.

Just imagine that the dog s**ts on the carpet and I could have them Jailed.......................

So again "What's the criminal charge"? I might have some money coming in and I can't think of a better why to reinvest it then becoming a landlord with protection.

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