911 Mix-up Has Family Seeking Answers

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - For Vanessa Shanahan, the safety of her kids is her number one priority. However, on January 9th when she heard a knock on her door, her world turned upside down.

"Before I even had a chance to stand up a man walked through our door and he walked here yelling and screaming," said Shanahan.

At first she didn't recognize him. Yet, once she had the chance to clear her head, she says she realized it was her ex roommate's boyfriend.

"I told him he needed to get out of the house and he was not leaving. So I told him I was going to call the police and get my gun," she said.

She then quickly told her three children to go into the back bedroom before calling 911.

"I told them, 'There's a man in my house. He's yelling and screaming uncontrollably. My kids are locked up in a room and we need a police officer immediately.'," said Shanahan.

What she thought would be an immediate response, turned into over an hour of waiting.

"I actually called a total of four or five times and then my nanny called twice," she said.

"I really just wanted to know if they could give me a time. I wanted to know how long we needed to wait until somebody would come," said Barbara Boden, Nanny for the family.

Once police officers arrived at their home, they told Shanahan that dispatch originally had them turn around, saying the family just wanted a phone call.

"That's not something that I wanted. That's not something that I said to her. I said, 'Absolutely we need a man to come.'," said Shanahan.

Now the family is left with questions, saying that something as simple as a miscommunication could have cost them their lives.

"In a split moment he could have gone through all of us," said Boden.

"What good is 911 going to do for me next time if this ever happens in the middle of the night or even during the day. If someone breaks into my home, what are my options?," said Shanahan.

The Grand Junction Police Department could not comment on the specific incident. However, they say they do take all complaints very seriously.

"We've worked hard to build a relationship of trust with our community and it's incredibly important that we are accountable and transparent in our practices," said Heidi Davidson, Public Information Officer with the Grand Junction Police Department.

Although the family is now safe, it's a memory that they'll never forget.

"That will be with them for the rest of their lives. That terror, it's unfortunate," said Shanahan.

If anyone has any suggestions of how the GJPD can respond better, they say to give them a call on their Citizen Comment Line at (970) 549-5149.

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