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District Releases Report on Investigation Into Mills Death

Friday, February 21, 2014
Findings detail event timeline, disciplinary process and recommended improvements

Timothy Wilson (FEMS) (202) 673-3298; [email protected]
Wanda Gattison (OUC) (202) 730-0503; [email protected]


(Washington, DC) The DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (DCFEMS) and the Office of Unified Communications (OUC) have released an internal report detailing their response to a medical emergency that occurred across the street from a fire station.

The report was compiled by the Office of Paul Quander, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice. It describes the actions taken by both agencies during the incident, outlines the disciplinary process and provides remedies that have been implemented.

On the afternoon of Saturday, January 25, 2014, at approximately 2:44 pm Mr. Medric Mills collapsed in the parking lot of a shopping center at 1309 Rhode Island Avenue, NE. A shopkeeper telephoned 911 and spoke with a call taker at OUC to report the medical emergency. The call taker assigned the call to Northwest, but was immediately corrected by the caller when the address was repeated.

In addition to the 911 call, members of the public sought help by going to the fire station across the street at 1340 Rhode Island Avenue, NE. Five firefighters were present in the house during the emergency. All were aware of a medical issue in which assistance was requested; however, none took any action to provide assistance.

The firefighters and four OUC employees have been recommended for disciplinary action. The disciplinary actions can range from an official reprimand to dismissal.

As a result of this incident and the subsequent findings, a number of remedies have been recommended or already undertaken by both OUC and FEMS. Some of the remedies for OUC include improvements in dispatching protocol and additional training for dispatchers and call takers.

“As an agency tasked with handling 1.4 million 911 calls annually, we recognize the monumental responsibility of ensuring that each one is handled with the utmost attention to detail,” said OUC Director Jennifer Greene.  “We are committed to providing the superior service that District residents deserve.”

Remedies for DCFEMS include additional training for members and adopting a policy that places greater emphasis on responding to non-dispatched requests for assistance.

“Our members have a duty to respond and protect the lives of those who request their assistance,” said DCFEMS Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe. “We will continue to improve our methods and uphold our responsibility to serve District residents and visitors.”

To view the full report, go to Final Rhode Island Ave Report.

For audio file of 911 call, visit Rhode Island Avenue 911 Call.