EXCLUSIVE: Emergency communications system failure in Folcroft officer shooting

LIMA, Pa. (WPVI) -- Action News has learned the radio communications system failed momentarily just as Folcroft police officers were trying to get help for Officer Christopher Dorman during Friday morning's shooting.

In scanner audio of the police radio call, Dorman can be heard saying, "I'm shot in the face! I'm shot in the face! I'm shot! I'm shot! I'm shot!"

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Listen to the radio call from the Folcroft police shooting.

But police say when he made the frantic call, dispatchers at the Delaware County Communications Center in Lima, Pennsylvania, never heard him.

Fortunately, Sgt. William Bair was nearby.

"He was running, talking and he got in my car, and I tried to call radio room, which didn't happen," said Bair.

Bair's calls to dispatch also went unanswered. At a critical moment, police in Folcroft didn't have their lifeline.

"Police officers themselves could talk to each other, but the radio room itself could not hear us and couldn't transmit back to us," said Bair.

Delaware County officials say a technical glitch caused a computer to reboot, leaving dispatchers unaware an officer had been shot and unable to coordinate an appropriate response.

"I'm being told it was 6 minutes the system was down," said Bair.

County Council issued a statement saying it, "has directed the department of emergency services to investigate all emergency communications systems utilized during the incident."

Bair says luckily the computer glitch didn't effect the outcome of this situation, but he doesn't want to take a chance.

"This is our lifeline. This is what we're trying to rely on. It's not the dispatchers themselves, they have no control over it. The system shuts down," said Bair.

Action News is told the system is about six months old, and this was the first time it had crashed.

However, Bair tells us it crashed again Saturday night, effecting police in Darby.

County officials declined to speak on camera to Action News about either incident.
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