Dispatcher in Widmer case cleared of wrongdoing

Posted by Trina Edwards - email

LEBANON, OH (FOX19) - A report issued by an independent consulting firm has found no wrongdoing by the dispatcher who took Ryan Widmer's 911 call.

Widmer called 911 on August 11, 2008 to report that he found his wife, Sarah, not breathing in the bathtub. Widmer was later convicted of her murder, but the verdict was overturned due to juror misconduct. A retrial is scheduled for March.

After the first trial, another officer at the communication center stated in a training session that dispatcher Ron Kronenberger was asleep when the call came in. Several months later, officials at the Comm Center issued Kronenberger a notice of a pre-disciplinary conference; however, the county administrator said the notice should be withdrawn until an independent review could be done. Warren County commissioners hired a consulting firm to perform an independent investigation into the allegations.

The report found that the accusing officer was not at the Comm Center the night of the call, and all of the officers there at the time said they did not recall or did not see Kronenberger or could not see him when the call came in. One said he thought Kronenberger was sleeping, but had some doubt.

The report found Kronenberger did answer the call within three seconds of the first ring, beating two other dispatchers to the call.

Further investigation revealed the dispatcher handled the call within the procedural guidelines in place at the time. Kronenberger said there was a lot of static on the line, and that during the call, he had not heard some of what Widmer had said. Kronenberger's supervisor confirmed Kronenberger had reported the static and they listened to the call together after the call. The county's Telecom Department Director confirmed they could have been static.

County Administrator Dave Gully says the report closes the investigation and no disciplinary action is expected against Kronenberger.

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