Police take 30 hours to respond to 911 call
February 16, 2010
By KAREN VELIE
On Feb. 11, the owner of K-Jon’s Fine Jewelers called 911 requesting law enforcement’s help with a man who was harassing a female customer. Atascadero Police failed to respond.
Shortly after 10 a.m., a man reeking of alcohol approached the female customer outside the jewelry store. He said he was a felon and he wanted money.
He followed her into the store staying at her side as she moved through the shop.
When he turned his head and looked down at a jewelry case, the terrified customer mouthed to the general manager, Angela Cisneros, “I don’t know him. Help me.” Cisneros went to the back room and asked the store’s owner, Stan Sherwin, for help.
“He kept saying he was with her, ‘this is my girlfriend,’ which was clearly not the case,” Sherwin said. “I asked him to step outside so we could discuss the matter.
“I yelled to my staff to call the police and stepped around the cases to get him out of my store, fully expecting to be in a fight or have a knife or a gun drawn,” Sherwin added.
The man then attempted to reenter the store. Sherwin shoved him out and locked the door.
“They (police dispatchers) wanted to know how bad an emergency it was,” Sherwin said. “Why can’t they just send a unit down?”
K-Jon’s Fine Jewelry store sits approximately one block north of the police department.
“Extremely upset,” Sherwin then called 911 from his cell phone. The 911 call routed to San Luis Obispo Highway Patrol dispatchers who reported the emergency to Atascadero Police dispatchers. The Atascadero Police Department employee then called Sherwin and the two argued over how long it had been since the call for help, Sherwin said.
“Who cares if it takes five minutes as long as they show up,” Sherwin said. “The timeframe doesn’t bother me. It’s that they never arrived.”
After standing for a few minutes at the store window and screaming, “Let me in,” the man gave up and went to the Century 21 office next door. He walked in and began making vulgar comments to the real estate office’s administrative assistant, Christine Chersicla.
“He kept saying ‘you are so fucking beautiful,’” Chersicla said. “He got pretty foul.”
She convinced him to walk outside, where he spotted Sherwin approaching and ran. Sherwin, still on the phone, told the dispatcher the man was running toward the police station and watched as a police car followed him.
Though police detained the man for a short period of time, he was back in front of the jewelry store within 10 minutes, Sherwin said.
“No one on my staff believes we have any police help,” Sherwin said. “We are on an island by ourselves.”
The entire incident was recorded on film by the store’s 13 cameras that record the shop’s daily activities.
Within 30 minutes of owner Stan Sherwin informing Joanne Main of the Chamber of Commerce of the failure to respond, Atascadero Police Chief Jim Mulhall stopped by K-Jon’s Jewelry store, more than 30 hours after the 911 emergency call.
Earlier today, Mulhall assigned Sergeant Robert Molle to investigate Sherwin’s concerns.
“The concerns have been brought to our attention and we are looking into it,” Molle said.
Sherwin also sent letters to members of the city council and the city manager detailing the incident.
“I want a better response next time,” Sherwin said. “There needs to be a full investigation.”
In order to receive federal 911 subsidies, law enforcement agencies are required to respond to 911 calls for assistance.
“My number one concern, when I am running 10 employees, is their safety,” Sherwin added.