Angela Chalmers was woken up at 7am by her dog, who was growling at the top of the stairs. She decided to see what her pooch Loki was startled by, only to find a stranger asleep on her sofa.
Chalmers immediately phoned the police on the morning of 18 June, but a dispatcher suggested she ‘go downstairs and wake him up herself’, with the law enforcement employee also telling Chalmers that ‘the police were really busy’.
Chalmers told CBC: “I came down to see what it was that he was barking at, and I walked halfway down the stairs and there was a strange man lying right here on my couch. It was terrifying.”
After spotting the intruder, Chalmers, who lives in Winnipeg, crept back upstairs and told her roommate that their home had been broken into, before the pair barricaded themselves in a bedroom.
Chalmers called the police - who took 20 minutes to arrive - while hiding in a closet.
She added: "They said that the police were really busy and would we mind going downstairs and waking him up ourselves?"
When the police arrived, it took four officers to eject the man from Chalmers’ home, and the intruder also ‘became aggressive’ when he woke up, much to Chalmers’ alarm.
"I wasn't harmed, nothing was taken, it worked out okay this time, but had I been someone else … and took that 911 operator's horrible recommendation, that could have ended completely differently," she explained.
UNILAD has approached Winnipeg police for comment.
Police told CBC that the incident is currently under review and the dispatcher who advised Chalmers to wake up the intruder has been given ‘feedback’.
As for the 20-minute wait for officers, Kelly Dehn, director of public affairs for the Winnipeg Police Service, told the outlet that response times can vary for any call depending on the time of day, resources available and ‘urgency’ of the event.
Dehn added that in this instance, the call was ‘appropriately dispatched in a timely manner’.
However, Const. Claude Chancy did admit to CBC that it’s unusual for a dispatcher to advise someone to approach a person as it could jeopardise their safety.
Chancy said: “A person would be advised to exit the building or residence until police arrival.”
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