Madison high-rise improves police access after I-Team story - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Madison high-rise improves police access after I-Team story

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

After an ongoing Channel 4 I-Team investigation found police had been locked out at night and on weekends from a high-rise for the disabled and the elderly, police took action and now have gained access.

Last month, the Channel 4 I-Team exposed how the doors at the Chippington II high-rise in Madison would be locked from the outside at night and on weekends, even to police, unless someone let them in.

Residents told the Channel 4 I-Team that they feared they wouldn't be able to get downstairs if they were in trouble.

A memo from management indicated that the move to lock the doors was for the residents' safety.

But the day after our story aired, Metro police paid a visit to the facility.

"When that came to light, we went down and talked to the management staff about our concerns about that," said Sgt. James Vivrette.

Vivrette explained what they would have to do if they couldn't get in.

"We would have taken extreme measures. We'd just busted out the door, but obviously we didn't want to do that," Vivrette said.

As a result of that meeting with police, there is new keypad outside the tower and police have the security code.

"It went exceedingly fast after it was shown on Channel 4, and we appreciate it very much what you did," said resident Connie Spurlin.

It is unclear if the information being passed along to 911 dispatch is more thorough, however.

In May, the Channel 4 I-Team exposed how the alarm company hired by the facility was only told to alert emergency crews to a problem but not provide vital details.

Transcripts show one call in particular displayed the lack of information:

"Do we have a name or anything?" asked a 911 operator.
"No, sir," said the operator from Southeastern Sound.
"Do we have a room number?" asked the 911 operator.
"No, sir," said Southeastern Sound.
"Where exactly are they?" asked the 911 operator.
"I have no idea. They're at Hickory Hollow Towers is all I can tell you," Southeastern Sound said.

The Channel 4 I-Team again reached out for comment for the towers' owners in Knoxville, but they have not returned our calls or emails for comment.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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