Whose Job Is It to Call 911?

Security guard allegedly refused to make emergency call

By Traci Grant
|  Wednesday, Oct 7, 2009  |  Updated 4:32 PM PDT
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Whose Job Is It to Call 911?

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Palo Alto Police are investigating a report that a 50-year-old man, who had fallen into a diabetic coma, died Monday after a security guard refused to dial 911.

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Palo Alto Police are investigating a report that a 50-year-old man, who had fallen into a diabetic coma, died Monday after a security guard refused to dial 911.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, on Sunday morning Don Goodwill spent the night at the apartment of Harold Hapin in the Opportunity Health Center in Palo Alto. Goodwill told the newspaper that he knocked on Hapin’s door but Hapin didn’t respond. Then Goodwill found him lying on his bed in a diabetic coma.

Goodwill told the Mercury News that he ran downstairs and asked the security guard to dial 911, but the guard would not do it, stating that "their job is not to call 911." Goodwill said he had to go outside and flag down a police cruiser from another jurisdiction that happened to be driving down the street.

Police confirmed the names of the individuals involved in the incident and the fact that the Palo Alto Fire Department arrived, performed CPR on Hapin and transported him to Stanford Hospital. The Santa Clara Medical Examiner-Coroner’s office confirmed that Hapin died the next day.

But Sgt. Dan Ryan said he could not determine how accurate the entire story is until more investigation can be done. Ryan, the department’s public information officer said, if true, the incident is very disturbing.

"Our concern is that everybody has access to the 911 system," Ryan said. "We're troubled if for some reason it wasn’t working or was denied to people."

The Opportunity Health Center is a facility that serves as a drop-in center for the homeless and also offers single-room occupancy apartments for people struggling to get back on their feet. Many of the residents have physical or mental disabilities.

Ryan said that, not only are police are investigating the case, but there is also an internal investigation going on at the health center.

The police identified the security company as Crime Tech Services, based in Oakland. The Mercury News reported that the company’s name is Orion Security in San Jose. Calls to both agencies were not returned.

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