It’s been ten days since 23-year-old Malachi Ortiz was arrested on a second degree murder charge for allegedly shooting and killing his father.
The affidavit for Malachi’s arrest shows there may be another issue on hand.
According to the document, 52-year-old Cecilio Ortiz was on the floor bleeding from two gunshot wounds at his Pueblo home when his wife, Jamie Ortiz, called 911. She told Pueblo investigators that she called 911 multiple times but was sent to voicemail.
The Pueblo Police Department tells KRDO that their 911 line doesn’t have a voicemail. However, they do have a pre-recording that lets callers know if operators are busy.
The pre-recording says the following: “You’ve reached Pueblo 911. Please do not hang up. Dispatchers are currently handling other 911 calls, but will be with you as soon as possible.”
After hearing the 8-second recording in English, callers will hear the same message repeated in Spanish.
“It’s just to let people know ‘hey we got your call,'” said Sgt. Frank Ortega with the Pueblo Police Department. “‘Hang on, we are going to deal with it. We are going to help you.'”
According to Pueblo Police Call Records, Jamie Ortiz called five times and hung up before dispatchers could answer four of those times. She spoke with an operator on the fifth call.
Sgt. Ortega says people should not hang up and try to call again in an attempt to avoid the pre-recording. It does themselves and the operators a disservice.
“You are putting yourself at the back of the line by hanging up. If you stay on the line it helps the dispatchers, and it helps you get help that you need,” said Ortega. When someone hangs up, dispatchers are required to call that number back.
“[Jamie Ortiz] tried calling, and we tried calling her back,” he said. “Basically, we were doing some phone tag.”
Despite the dangerous game of phone tag between dispatchers and Ortiz, Ortega says officers were on scene just a little more than 5 minutes after the first 911 call was made.
But does this indicate that the dispatch center in Pueblo is short-staffed?
“I don’t believe so,” said Ortega. “Obviously having more people would be better. But we are at minimum staffing no matter what.”
Three operators are required to hit that minimum number of staff answering calls. The Pueblo Police Department say they are planning to hire more operators soon.
KRDO Only 2019