Police take 30 hours to respond to 911 call

February 16, 2010

Jim Mulhall


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.

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Unfortunately, there is a simple solution for future calls to 911. If you want the cops out there fast, tell the 911 operator the person has a gun, give the address, and then hang up. Period. Don’t give the dolt answering the call time to hit you with 20 questions. A unit will always respond to that type of call.

No Thanks, I don’t need 7 cops in my front c and back yard with their guns drawn running around in a frenzy all screaming 6 six orders. Not that I would blame them.

Me either, they could come and screw up. Seems the women this drunk encountered could have armed themselves and joined forces waiting for the offender to come out side, then without hesitation and plenty of insurance, bam!, the throttle on the old car stuck. Then they would of had twenty-nine hours to get to Mexico, ah senoritas, margaritas? Some cheap body work on the front of your car?, here let me get the hose, and wash this, yuk, what the ,,,?

Oh oh Truth hurts, let’s not split hairs over the particular wording in the title. Or we could, and then accordingly we will also split hairs over all the misleading statements made by police officers and their agencies. I don’t think you really want to go down that road, now do you?The officer never made contact with the business owner who made the call, that is the point. Also you stated, “maybe the cops should have arrested the guy..but if they dont have real grounds they cant and shouldn’t.” Well that’s refreshing, let’s see you stand by that principal every time. Unfortunately law enforcement generally spouts whatever principle suits them at the particular moment.

Mr Freberg I agree with you again. People shouldn’t be waiting for big daddy government to protect them. But I think that in order to make your point we need to see a lot more issues like this that demonstrate WHY self reliance and individual responsibility are ultimately more successful than dependence upon government. The principal of self reliance is not just a moral issue, it is one of efficacy. Government mandated protection and equality are paradoxes. So, with that said, it’s good to see media reporting on these stories and making a big stink.

Finally, fire the dispatcher. I’m increasingly ticked off by the attitude of public employees and the total lack of accountability.

I am sorry you have had a bad experience with Law Enforcement..I have a lot of experience with cops and think most are good people that just want to get their job done and go home..some are jerks..no questions about that..but why? People do stupid things…and cops have to deal with it..most people are good upstanding tax paying people that dont deserved to get teated badly…and people talk about cops getting paid too much…by no means (except Bolts and Hedges) do cops make it rich…they get paid well..but dont you want those people to get paid well?? they deal with drugs, money, and other things that can be greatly abused..I am not saying that cops dont abuse it but there are a lot more opportunities than you know of..these people carry guns and are tasked with a responsibility that you can’t comprehend unless you walk in their shoes…and websites like this where there is no (or very little) good things said about cops …no wonder the are not thrilled to see us citizens..are they supposed to be a ball of happiness when they are hated? but I want the people running towards a “man with a gun call” at a school to go in there well paid and not giving a 2nd thought to doing their job if they were only making 30K a year…you know?

Your “man with a gun call” at a school hit a nerve with me.

1999 Colorado, Colombine, Swat would not go into the school in fear of being hit!! This is a fact! Read about it months after it happened. If we can’t even send in S.W.A.T. because they fear they may be hit or for their life, this doesn’t bode well in general. I would have to assume that the guys working that at the time where paid fairly well.

Not trying to pick on cops, I am aware there are many good ones (I know a few in different agencies myself) but we need to get a HANDLE on this. The recent Readers Digest issue has a good article about cops etc. in this months issue. I suggest any and all to give it a read.

It relates well to a lot of the problems we have seen going on in local LE in this county in the last couple years.

actually…in CO..they waited outside mostly because that is what trainging tought them to do!!!set up outside and wait.. Now they have hours and hours of teaching on “active Shooter” type incidents where the goal is to get there and quickly take care of the threat with just a couple of officers..all of the cops in this county are trained in the same way by the same people so anyone from any agency can repond and still be on the same page..LE is everchanging and the try to learn from incidents like that…and they have…why dont you ask a cop about active shooter training?

It’s obvious that your sole purpose in writing is the offer a general “Cops are Good” b.s. I bet you have a cop in the family. We used to and he was an out of control prick…….this cop could have been wonderful but wait we don’t know which cop we are talking about because he never showed up. So it’s not a matter of are cops good or bad as peple. It’s a matter of finding out why no one showed up and now apparently they are lying to cover up their lack of action as a Police Department..LET’S TRY TO STAY ON THE POINT THE 28 HOUR RESPONCE TIME. THE DISPATCHER THAT ARGUED RATHER THAN DISPATCH. THESE ARE THE ISSUES. Not

whether cops are good or bad.

Did I not say some are Jerks?..most of the guys are good people…I bet you have a cop in the family..is that a bad thing …actually I do..and beleive it or not…could I be a cop?…just maybe…maybe I should be restricted from making comments due to my job…no I am not posting this at work…yes I think dirty cops should be fired in a heartbeat and i will not stick up for them..people especially adults dont like being told what to do and dont like cops because they (the cops) can arrest people if they do something wrong..sorry in Law enforcement the customer is not always right…picture it…”you are under arrest..” “dont arrest me..please..” “ok”…that doesnt work out that way…Law Enforcement needs to provide a type of service but they dont always do everything they could..good thing this reminds them huh?? OK…I want an article written because my waitress last night didn’t refill my drink after she brought us our food…SHE SHOULD BE FIRED!! a little extreme? or just asked to get a refill next time she goes to the kitchen..

Truth I appreciate your tempered response. I find that at this point, many who feel differently about cops than I do, simply fly off into a tirade. Here is the thing… First, understand that I come from a perspective that a free market can supply for all needs, including security, and that much of what we fear is an indirect product of a legal system not intended for the prosecution of only true crimes (“natural law”).

With that said, I am a reasonable person and seek compromise. However, I feel that law enforcement has for many years become as big of a problem as they are a solution. For one, they create a dependence on the part of the public that may not be reasonable. Secondly, you should check your figures because in fact MANY police officers make a great deal of money, particularly when you include overtime. Finally, law enforcement rhetoric has become so self-aggrandizing it’s ridiculous, particularly since the facts (death and injury statistics) do not bear out their claims of risking their lives every day for the benefit of others. It is more dangerous to serve your fellow man slurpies at 3am.

The other day I met an LAPD officer on the Amtrak and talked to him the whole ride north. This guy made about half of what SLOPD makes, and has to work his butt off dealing with a lot of issues I certainly wouldn’t want to deal with. But he had no complaints, he loved his job and wouldn’t trade it even though he routinely met people from other agencies (e.g. Orange County Sheriffs) that had much easier jobs and made a great deal more money. This guy was a credit to the profession.

By the way, you’re right, 30k a year would not get the kind of person I would want for that job, but 60 sure should, and here in town most of them are well past $100k and I have a real problem with that.

Once again you seem more like a Police mouthpiece than a concerned citizen. The issue is not and shouldn’t be; are the Police good or bad people. Policemen and women do face a tough job with little gratitude from most people, ok, that being said they are just people and therefor some bad people do get into the job. Truth us they have some really wonderful people that are police officers and there are some bufoons, and an occasional sicko. But that isn’t the issue Stan Sherwin and the brave reporter that brought this issue to the surface.

The real issue is that an incident occured where the Police departmet dropped the ball on what could have been a very dangerous situation.This inaction and the actions of the department after the incident show a total lack of concern for the safety of the citizens and businesses in Atascadero.” Let’s keep on the point this should not be a forum for Police hate or defence so let’s talk about the problem and maybe future changes to insure that it doesn’t occur again.

This title is MISLEADING!! The cops showed up..it says that the man was detained for a short time…in case you didnt read that part…IT TOOK 30 HOURS FOR THE CHIEF TO SHOW UP..not for the cops to show up…let me tell you a little about Law Enforcement in this county…Atascadero PD probably has only 3-4 officers there if that durning the day…if they are dealing with other calls and the dispatcher was trying to figure out if she needed to break an officer from a call that they were at to go to this call..maybe the cops should have arrested the guy..but if they dont have real grounds they cant and shouldn’t ..last time I checked..drunk in public is:

any person..Who is found in any public place under the influence of

intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any

combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, controlled substance,

or toluene, in a condition that he or she is unable to exercise care

for his or her own safety or the safety of others, or by reason of

his or her being under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any

drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any

intoxicating liquor, drug, or toluene, interferes with or obstructs

or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public

way….was he falling down drunk or just smelled like booze…did he block a side walk..nope? then you cant arrest..

Ok lets talk about the Sheriff’s Dept. they respond with great timing all things considered..did you know most nights there is only 3 graveyard cars out after 2am..not per station..but ONE per station!!..one car from monterey co to the Grade…one from Avila to ragged point and one car for everything south of Avila..!! bet you didnt know that fun fact!

If you dont like what the cops are doing …go through the training and become one and change it..nothing stopping you…well..maybe..

Who do you think you’re kidding? The police officer did not respond to the complainants or victim. If he had, he would have had plenty of grounds to make an arrest. The last time I looked it is a crime to inform a defenseless citizen that you are a felon, have nothing to lose and want them to give you their money (that is a threat). It is equally a crime to then take control of that person as in holding their arm and walking with them while attempting to deceive on lookers into assuming that you and your hostage are together. The actions of the victim clearly indicate that she did not feel free to express herself or break away from the presence of her captor. The police did not respond appropriately but rather carelessly allowed a dangerous individual the opportunity to continue about his illegal and dangerous behavior, unchecked.

I am not interested in hearing you tell us about how short staffed all the local PD’s are. I know of at least three LEO that have been on paid administrative for months. Two for smuggling at the boarder and one for shaking down the Catholic Church while claiming that he is constantly anxious and distraught as his damages. There is also a paid Sheriff that doesn’t go to work because he will be retiring, so that makes 4. I’m sure there are more.

Iam not kidding any one…can you read? here it is again…

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.

and if it were you that got busted crossing over the border wouldn’t you want to have a fair trial and have it investigated completely…major crime trials take serveral months if not years to complete..Adam Fairbairn was convicted in 2008 and he committed his crime in 2006…oh..wait..the constitution does not apply to cops..also if they fired them without investigating them all the way..thinnk of the wrongful termination lawsuit? If they did it and it was drugs..fire their ass..dont get me wrong….

and how many cops one the road is important for response times..

oh wait this is a cop hating website…I am sorry…pigs!..that should get me some thumbs up

“wouldn’t you want to have a fair trial and have it investigated completely…major crime trials take serveral months if not years to complete.”

Oh yes I do certainly agree, I would love to sit home on a fully paid vacation for months or even years on my employers dime. The difference is that I wouldn’t get myself into something like that to begin with and if I did, my employer wouldn’t stand for it and would terminate me on the spot for suspicion and offer to hire me back when I was found innocent. Only paid gov has the privilege of sucking their employers dry if they are complicit enough to be accused of committing a crime.

“oh..wait..the constitution does not apply to cops.” That’s a joke considering the cops are the first ones to use the “probable cause” excuse to violate everyone’s constitutional rights on a daily basis. The fact is that the constitution says that your are entitled to a fair and speedy trial, it doesn’t say that you can milk the public or your employer dry while waiting for one. Like I said, only the cops have that privilege.

if the cops have probable cause..they are not violating the constitution..it is the ones that do no have it and still act violate it!

Not true…..the dispather failed to respond to the call. KJon’s has video of the entire incident.so if you and it’s too bad that none of the “LOCAL” television stations should get and at least look at and possibly air to show exactly what happened. Once again you and Mark take us away from the issue. Let’s not turn this into a forum for arguing the virtue of Police in general. They do have a tough job but as a 60+ tax paying citizen who has never had any criminal activity I have grown to fear the Police and that’s not right.

Bigric. You say you have grown to fear the police? Yet you don’t want to discuss good or bad. Well with that they have already won. They have instilled fear to the point that we shouldn’t even discuss it? This is relavant to what the article is.

There has been much police dissussion here (CCN) in last year with many incidents happening in our local area.

If we just keep buring our heads in the sand and saying we shouldn’t have a dissussion on it, then when do we???? When we become a police state??

Truth you hit a nerve with the cop hating website crap, and “PIGS” that is out like the “N” word dumb and dumber, don’t demote, promote. And your posts should not have so many typos when you write,”Can’t you read”. Truth Hurtle-ling into abandonment.

Don’t forget to include the female officer in Morro Bay who was fired last fall after less than one year on the job. The city declined to say why she was fired, just for ”behavior unbecoming” an officer or ”misconduct.”

I’ve since learned that she was hanging out with a bunch of local meth head losers and snorting and screwing her brains out.

But the city is prevented from divulging why someone like this gets canned. The LE lobby years ago got the Peace Officer’s Bill of Rights passed and that’s why official reports on misconduct and the like on these bad cops are never divulged to the media, or the taxpayers that pay all the bills.

Something’s wrong there.

Oh great call the sherriff they will get 4 200 lb. men to sit on him after he is cuffed and put facedown. That would have really helped the situation. If you look to the Press release from the Cheif yesterday he says “Officers did not go to the scene at K-Jon’s”

You should read the whole thing I’m sure you just have to walk accros the hall to get a copy from your boss the Cheif.

This is outrageous! A 30 hour response time for a Jewelry Store 1 block from the PD 3 days before Valentines. Why is this dispatcher still working? It is an outrage that she would ask how big a problem it was at a time like this. The Atascadero PD is familiar with K-Jon’s, many of their staff are customers and they always bring their new police dogs in so that they are familiar with the store should they need to enter in responce to an alarm.. Perhaps they should have sent a dog. I’m sure it could have handled the situation better than the dispatcher did.

I know K-jon’s trains their staff in how to handle emercency situations, expecially those that could involve the safety of the staff and customers. This was clearly demonstrated by Mr. Sherwin and Angela Cisneros. Mr. Sherwin took the problem outside the store and away from his employees and customers. One would assume that the Atascadero Police also practices for emergencies. When I have seen them actually working it’s usually somehting like someone holding up the line at Sunshine donuts or a Junior High student riding a skateboard on the sidewalk.

If I owned a business in Atascadero and I had an emergency I would call Stan….they train..

it took the chief 30 hours to talk to the owner..the cops showed up..

True it took the cheif 30 hours to show up but an officer as in responding to a call never showed up. Period end of story. The officer that supposedly detained and spoke with this intogicated felon should have driven him up to K-Jon’s and asked Stan and the woman that was struck and followed as well as the receptionist at the Real Estate office next door to look at him and positively identify him, then we would not been here arguing the virtue of the Police instead of looking closely at the problem and fixing it.

Well at least Jo-Anne Main did the right thing and got a response, good job Jo-Anne.

For the most part I think we have excellent police in Atascadero and they generally have a quick response time. I called them when I saw a prowler at my neighbors and they were there in 4 minutes.

It’s my guess that this incident was one of those “flooks” that happens occasionally. The dispatcher definitely leaves much to be desired and IMO showed very poor judgment, training and professionalism. Now if the responding officer was a guy named Benedetti Jr, then that explains everything. If that knee jerk, self important, ***-** ever responds to a call, I recommend that you tell him that you want to talk to someone else. Don’t ever count on him to sort anything out or employ any semblance of reasonable deduction. Even if there are other LE respondents recommending how to handle the situation, Benedetti will take the most unreasonable and dramatic action, all on his own. He is a menace on the streets and needs counseling, IMO.

I can’t help but believe that if Stan had called 911 and said there was an intoxicated patron in his store and was about to get in his car and drive, the APD would have come running out of the station on foot if necessary, to arrest the guy.

A DUI brings in lot’s of revenue and continued government subsidies. No questions about how important that call would have been.

It’s a fact that citizens do need to take responsibility for their own defense. The police rarely are in the right place at the right time to intercede. They are respondents, after the fact. Business owners, particularly a jewelry store owner should have a weapon available. Woman should carry pepper spray. One would think that they should be safe at 10 O’Clock in the morning on Main Street in A-Town and for the most part we all are, except for those rare occasions when we aren’t.

I find this story disturbing for too many reasons to count. The behavior of the anti-social individual who literally took the customer hostage was desperate and dangerous. When someone does something like that to a woman on the street it’s only a prelude to the next step. No doubt if she hadn’t been able to back herself into K-Jons that he might have escorted her to her car. This guy should not have been allowed to continue preying on woman up and down A-Town.

Stan – I know what you mean about not knowing if you were about to get into a full blown physical confrontation, or have a knife or gun pulled on you. Hey we aren’t getting any younger either. Good job, too bad there wasn’t any resolution but at least the woman are safe, for now.

Okay, I do understand the concern… but you know how it is, the city has to save money for open space, city cars and expense accounts and reducing city police is a simple matter. Ssssh… but in the ‘big city’ of San Luis Obispo, often there are only 4 on duty at anytime.

Then there is the other matter… ‘help me! help me! save me save mEEEee!’ Let’s see there was the boss and 10 guys/gals and they couldn’t take out some drunk???? Oh yes, I do understand that he was armed with toxic liquor breath.

Then there is why no one had a carry & conceal permit? Sometimes all it takes is having it there…

Oh well…. I guess some folks still hanker to the tune Roosevelt sang as his great campaign slogan,” let the government take care of you!’ But times are again a changing… Time to take care of yourself, your family, your friends and your customers…. don’t wait for others.

Roger Freberg

Taking the guy on? This isn’t a bar or a pawn shop. Sometimes all it takes is to show a gun? Sorry but my weapons training (U.S.M.C.) stressed never to pull out display or especially aim a weapon unless you are ready to use. If Stan had taken the guy on he would have offended a store full of customers and made an ugle experience and even nastier one. A customer that went through that would never come back.

Cops! I once called in a low grade emergency (personal threat) to cops in Bakersfield, at 4 pm. They showed up at 4 am (12 hours later) banging on the door. Four of them to respond to a simple call just to take a report, at 4 am. Lame bastards. When I complained I was warned to shut up.

I thought that was just Valley gack, typical of the area. I guess I was wrong, seems like every cop agency in this county is just as bad one way or the other.

I am informed our south county cops have not suffered the scandals of others so I do not include them in my comments about ‘every cop agency in this county’. Seems like from SLO through Paso and the Sheriff we have issues that need attention.