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Advisory panel releases first round of Kyle Plush settlement reform recommendations

911 call takers sitting at desks with multiple computer screens
City of Cincinnati
File image of the Emergency Communication Center

A three-member advisory panel established as part of a settlement between the family of Kyle Plush and the city of Cincinnati is out with its first report. The document details ongoing problems at the 911 call center but also maps out strategies to address them.

"There are many problems and it goes from staffing to moral to procedures and training," details attorney Al Gerhardstein. "But those are all being named and there's a path being developed to resolve those problems."

The panel will work with the city over five years to find and address issues, releasing regular reports along the way. The team is comprised of experts who, Gerhardstein notes, aren't just giving direction but are able to jump in and "get their hands dirty" and offer technical assistance and training.

Gerhardstein says the good news is that the city is open, not defensive, with good communication between the city and team of experts.

"The Plush family is pleased that the city is embracing these experts, and hopeful that with these recommendations the center will improve rapidly," he says.

Cincinnati and the family of Kyle Plush reached an agreement in April 2021, ending a wrongful death lawsuit in the death of the 16-year-old Seven Hills student.

The $6 million agreement included a five-year reform plan requiring Cincinnati to bring in three 911 experts to work with the Emergency Communications Center and allocate up to $250,000 initially for that work.

Plush called 911 twice on April 10, 2018, seeking help after becoming trapped in his vehicle. A series of failures described by consultants as a "perfect storm" meant responding officers did not locate him. His father, Ron, found him suffocated about six hours after the first 911 call was made.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.