Verified Dispatch Rule Slowed Response in Atlanta Court Shootings


Response to an Atlanta courthouse shooting that left a
judge, court reporter and sheriff’s sergeant dead was
delayed because of a verified response policy at the county
court, according to a media report. A new policy initiated
in January at the courthouse resulted in a deputy trying
four times to verify a distress call before help was

The Associated Press says the policy was enacted to
help reduce false dispatch alarms at the courthouse.
Ironically, it was the sergeant that was killed in the
March 11 attack – Hoyt Teasley – who had ordered his
deputies to enact the new policy.

Under the policy, deputies monitoring security at the
courthouse were ordered to make attempts to verify a
distress call within the courthouse before dispatching
additional deputies to render aid. The policy does not
mention the building’s electronic security devices, but
rather applied to distress calls within the building.

Brian Nichols – who allegedly overpowered a deputy and
stole a gun – is being tried for the crime that has put a
focus on increasing security at courthouses and for sitting

The Associated Press says in a Jan. 21 memo, Fulton
County deputy Paul Tamer protested to Teasley about the new
rule, saying. “’It is far more prudent to continue
dispatching deputies to office and [judges’] chamber alarms
rather than risking injury or death to a judge or staff

It was Tamer who was monitoring the courthouse security
during the March 11 shootings and followed the new policy,
making four verification calls before dispatching deputies.
After killing Judge Rowland Barnes, court reporter Julie
Ann Brandau and Teasley, the attacker escaped and later
killed a federal agent near the courthouse.

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