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VITAL INFORMATION LOST IN 911 TRANSFER CALL BEFORE MIDVALE WOMAN WAS ASSAULTED

A Midvale woman was raped inside her apartment early Sunday morning after she had earlier called 911 to report a prowler.

But important information was apparently lost or mixed up, and police did not arrive at her apartment until after she placed a second call to 911 nearly two hours later - after the man had raped her and left.The woman first called 911 about 2:30 a.m.

The prowler forced his way into her apartment near 6900 S. State and raped her at knifepoint. The woman suffered minor injuries to her hands, apparently caused by the knife. A 33-year-old West Jordan man was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail in connection with the incident.

Officials admit vital information that could have prevented the rape was somehow lost. But contrary to early reports, the new Valley Communications Center in Murray is not to blame, they say.

"We lost a 911 number. It's happened hundreds of times before," said Midvale Police Capt. Dan Pearson, explaining that the new center does not yet directly receive 911 calls. All county 911 calls are received at a downtown Salt Lake location and then transferred to the appropriate agency.

"Had the new enhanced 911 operation been on line, I'm sure this would not have occurred."

The enhanced system will begin operation June 1. All Salt Lake County 911 calls, except those in Salt Lake City, will go directly to the dispatchers at the new Valley Communications Center and will immediately display the number from where the call originated.

Supervisors studied recorded dispatch conversations until late Monday night before deciding what had gone wrong Sunday morning.

The woman originally called 911 at 2:28 a.m. to report a prowler. The call, received at the old center, was transferred to dispatchers at the new center.

"During that transfer, information relevant to the address apparently got messed up," Pearson explained.

The operator had taken a phone number from the woman, but it was apparently incorrect. Police officers were sent to a Sandy address that corresponded with the incorrect phone number, but when they found nothing, they took no further action, he said.

When the woman called again at 4:06 a.m., the call was transferred with the correct information.

"Basically, what it boils down to is the old system didn't give us the kind of information we needed," said the police captain. "The new system will far exceed anything we've ever had in the valley - far and above."

The woman reported her attacker's license plate number and officers later arrested the West Jordan man.