FOP leader gives new details in defense of officers on Kyle Plush call

Kyle Plush's body was found inside a mini-van at Seven Hills School April 10. (FOX19 NOW/file)
Kyle Plush's body was found inside a mini-van at Seven Hills School April 10. (FOX19 NOW/file)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Kyle Plush called 911 twice the afternoon of April 10, begging for help when he became pinned by the third-row rear seat in his van as he reached for tennis gear.

But the officers who responded to his first call "were given a very routine, non-emergency 'female stuck in a van' call. No other information was provided," the leader of the union representing Cincinnati police said Thursday.

Sgt. Dan Hils remarks, in a lengthy Facebook post, are his most detailed defense yet of the two officers who went to Seven Hills School in Madisonville in response to Kyle's first 911 call.

[City providing $450K to call center to increase capabilities, add staff]

Three investigations are underway into Kyle's death and the response from law enforcement including the 911 operators who took his two calls and the officers who went to the school.

Hils said Officers Brian Brazile and Edsel Osborn did everything they could with the information they were given by dispatchers.

"Everyone involved is heartbroken about Kyle's tragic passing. Police officers dedicate their careers to saving lives and their everyday goal is to help people," he wrote.

"The original dispatch, the only one the officers received, included no information about Kyle whatsoever. The responding officers were given a very routine, non-emergency "female stuck in a van" call. No other information was provided.

"The officers were not given a description of the van. The officers, both in the same car, were dispatched to a large school campus with several parking lots. When dispatched the campus was at peak traffic time and the parking lots were busy, certainly there were several mini-vans. This large area was best covered in their patrol cars.

"The officers shared their information with a deputy doing traffic. They turned off their body cameras, because procedure requires recording of conversations with citizens not of other officers.

"One of the officers retrieved the cell phone number from which the call came from and used his own personal phone to attempt contact. There was no answer.

"Police receive non-specific calls for assistance everyday. On many occasions the person who called can't be located, and has often left the scene without a return call to the police.

"These officers never received any information that there was a life-threatening issue. They pictured a female with locks that had malfunctioned.

"Both of these officers are experienced and are highly respected. They have both received commendation for their compassionate response to the public with promptness and professionalism."

Hils said he felt compelled to speak out because he was insulted by an opinion column authored by the Cincinnati Enquirer's Jason Williams, who wrote: "Police keep getting a free pass at City Hall."

"There's nobody that going to get a free pass," Hils said in an interview Thursday.

"The facts are what the facts are and when it comes to the police officers, they received such little information. They had so little to go on.

"They can't be judged in what we know at this time," he said. "They have to be judged in what it was they were delivered at the time and what they were delivered at the time was nothing close to the true emergency that was going on."

The police camera footage that police have released so far does not show the officers getting out of their vehicle once they arrived at Seven Hills School.

It also appears to show they only searched one of the school's parking lots.

Plush called 911 twice from inside the van after becoming pinned under the third-row seat of his Honda Odyssey.

The body camera video starts at 3:26 p.m. lasts for three minutes. Toward the end, an officer is heard saying 'I'm gonna shut this off."

A deputy sheriff who also looked for the teen with police, Doug Allen, indicated at the scene that day he thought the call might be a prank, according to emergency communication reports.

The sheriff's office is reviewing his actions but have not responded yet to requests for his personnel file and the investigation report or said when those public records would be released.

When Kyle called 911 a second time, dispatcher Amber Smith has told her supervisors she didn't hear him, a police report shows.

It is not clear yet why that happened.

It was on that second call that Kyle gave a detailed description of the vehicle, including its color and make.

"Cincinnati 911, what is the address of your emergency? Anyone there?" Smith asked Kyle, according to a recording of the call.

"I probably don't have much time left to tell my mom that I love her if I die," he responded, according to a recording of the call. "This is not a joke. This is not a joke. I'm trapped inside my gold Honda Odyssey van in the sophomore parking lot of Seven Hills....Send officers immediately. I'm almost dead....Seven Hills."

Kyle's voice trailed off.

Then, he asked: "Can you hear me?"

Smith did not respond.

He gasped as the call ended, repeatedly asking "Hey Suri? Hey Suri? I'm in a gold ....Hey Suri......"

Kyle's body was found about five hours later by his father, who went to the school to look for his son when he didn't come home.

Kyle died from "asphyxiation due to chest compression" after becoming pinned by a folding seat in a 2004 Honda Odyssey minivan, according to the Hamilton County Coroner's Office.

Smith was placed on paid administrative leave for a week after Kyle's death, a customary move in such situations similar to police officers being put on leave following a death on duty.

She returned to work a week ago, but is not answering 911 calls while the investigation continues . She is performing administrative duties.

In light of Kyle's death, Mayor John Cranley and other elected officials called for a review of the city's emergency communications center, which has been plagued with issues for years.

On Wednesday, City Council approved spending nearly a half million dollars to help increase 911 capabilities and to hire nearly a dozen new employees including five dispatchers.

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