British Columbia

Lisa Dudley murder inquest recommends better follow-up in cases of potentially 'grievous' injuries

The coroners inquest into the shooting death of Lisa Dudley released recommendations Thursday that RCMP dispatchers review how they document complaints and officers review their follow up procedures in cases of potentially grievous injuries.

Jury makes 9 recommendations for police, dispatchers and other agencies

This photo of Lisa Dudley, who was killed in a targeted attack in 2008, was entered as evidence at the coroners inquest into her death. (B.C. Coroners Service)

The coroners inquest into the shooting death of Lisa Dudley released recommendations Thursday that RCMP dispatchers review how they document complaints and officers review their follow up procedures in cases of potentially grievous injuries.

Dudley was shot in a 2008 targeted attack in rural Mission but lay paralyzed for four days before she was found. She was transported to hospital but did not survive.

A five-person jury at a coroners inquest in Burnaby was tasked this week with examining the death and making recommendations that could prevent similar deaths in the future.

When Dudley was shot, a neighbour phoned police to report that he had heard gunfire and a crash, but the RCMP officer who responded, Michael White, only drove through the neighbourhood.

He didn't get out of his unmarked police cruiser, follow up with the neighbour or locate the crime scene.

Better follow-up called for

Jurors made nine recommendations in all.

They recommended RCMP dispatchers review procedures and training to make sure complaint details are "properly and thoroughly" documented and review with employees that "all calls are recorded, [that they are] sensitive in nature and could be made public."

White could be heard on tape played at the inquest, joking with the dispatcher about the report of shots fired. He later testified that he hadn't found the report to be credible.

They also recommended RCMP officers consider creating a specific follow-up policy in cases where there may have been serious injuries like stabbing or gunshot wounds.

If a policy already exists, jurors recommended more training about it. They also suggested police vehicles in rural areas be given better exterior lighting.

A crime scene image entered into evidence at the coroners inquest into Lisa Dudley's death shows a sliding glass door at the back of Dudley's home thathad been smashed. (B.C. Coroners Service)

It also recommended the District of Mission review rules about residential address visibility and for B.C. Emergency Health Services to look at options for air ambulances that can better treat patients during transport.

Jurors also recommended the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General review follow-up policies for all police forces in the province and consider mandatory follow-up training for cases of grievous injuries.

'Just seem like common sense'

Mark Surakka, Lisa Dudley's stepfather, said the recommendations "just seem like common sense."

"Firemen, if they get a call, they're not going to say, 'oh I'll just drive by' ... if they don't see any smoke," he told On The Coast host Gloria Macarenko.

When asked if the recommendations and the inquest would provide any closure to those who loved Lisa, Surakka said there was more a sense of "resolve" especially after finally hearing Lisa's last words from a paramedic.

Surakka says he and Lisa's mother, Rosemarie Surakka, are still pursuing legal action for Lisa's death. He says they are seeking a declaration that her suffering was a violation of her Charter rights.

"There has to be an accountability," he said.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast

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