Miami Beach PD fires dispatcher over fire rescue delay

Damian Janee can appeal decision in hearing

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The Miami Beach Police Department on Tuesday fired a dispatcher over falsifying his report when he dispatched a rescue unit to a 65-year-old man who died before the unit arrived.

Miami Beach Police Chief Ray Martinez said Damian Janee can appeal the decision at a hearing next week.

Miami Beach Fire Rescue unit 22 arrived five minutes before the man was pronounced dead at his Venetian Islands home, about two miles from the nearest fire station, on March 5.

Firefighters told the man's wife a raised bridge caused the delay.

In the intent to discipline report given to Janee, the department said he received a call about a man who had fallen on the floor and was unable to move at 9:12 a.m.

"I just left for five minutes and now he's on the floor and he can't move," said the man's wife in the 911 call.

LISTEN: Initial 911 call

Janee assigned fire rescue unit 22 but didn't radio the dispatch call to the unit.

At 9:26 a.m., Janee dispatched unit 22 by radio. He wrote into his report that the unit acknowledged the call and was en route, but falsified it by saying the unit was en route at 9:13 a.m., according to the department.

At 9:28 a.m., Lubin's wife made another 911 call requesting rescue. Unit 22 arrived at 9:36 a.m., and Lubin was pronounced dead at 9:41 a.m.

"He was interviewed by internal affairs and he had no explanation of why there was a 14 minute delay in his dispatch of that call," said Miami Beach Police Chief Ray Martinez. "He had no idea why he didn't dispatch that call. He just had no answer."

The letter also cited an incident March 18 when Janee didn't relay the correct location to rescue and police units.

The city charged Janee with violating several departmental rules and regulations, including:

  • No employee shall intentionally make false reports, either written or verbal, or enter or cause to be entered in any departmental book, record, or report any inaccurate, false or improper information.
  • Conduct unbecoming an employee of the Department is defined as any conduct or act which has an adverse impact upon the operation of the Department and destroys public respect and confidence in the Department and its employees.
  • Has been guilty of gross negligence or gross inefficiency in the performance of his duties, where such negligence or inefficiency has or might result in loss or injury to the city, the public, or to persons or property affected thereby.
  • All calls for police service shall be answered as soon as possible consistent with normal safety precaution and traffic laws. Except under the most extraordinary circumstances or when otherwise directed by competent authority, no employee shall fail to answer any assigned radio call or to monitor the appreciate channel of his radio.
  • Employees will adhere to SOPs, regulations and directives, and will faithfully execute all duties and responsibilities of their assigned position.
  • Employees will be attentive to job duties and will avoid any appearance of loitering or otherwise neglecting work.

"They (dispatchers) are the lifeline to officers on the street and also the lifeline to Miami Beach residents and tourists. When you call 911, you have an expectation that help will be coming," said Martinez.

According to the letter, Janee received a letter of reprimand in Oct. 2012 for leaving a 911 call line open for 37 minutes, causing it to be unavailable for calls. In Feb. 2012, he received a written warning for leaving a 911 call line open for more than 16 minutes.