Residents hold emergency meeting about doors locked to cops - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Residents hold emergency meeting about doors locked to cops


Disabled and elderly residents of a Madison high-rise held an emergency meeting, after learning their doors to the building would be locked from the outside at night and on weekends, and police would not be able to enter unless someone opened the door for them.

Some residents fear they may get in trouble, and not be able to get downstairs to let police in.

A letter sent from the managers at the building reads that firefighters will have a key to a lock box located outside, but not police.

"That's really ludicrous, because if we needed a police officer, we couldn't get out of our apartments to go downstairs to let them in," said Connie Lankford, vice president of the residents association.

The new building rule comes after a Channel 4 I-Team investigation in which we found 189 times during a two year period where the medical alarm company hired by the Chippington 2, and three other high-rises were unable to provide the most basic of information about the residents in trouble.

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.

Tom Claunch, vice president of operations for Southeastern Sound, said his company was hired to only to alert 911 to an emergency, not provide any other details.

"The only thing we were asked to provide is a medical activation. And that's exactly what we're providing," Claunch said.

Because of the Channel 4 I-Team investigation's findings and the new locked door rule, the residents decided to hold an emergency meeting and invited managers to attend.

When none of managers showed up, the Channel 4 I-Team tracked down the manager in her office. She told the Channel 4 I-Team that she was not going to speak to the media.

She referenced our questions to the owners of the towers in Knoxville. The Channel 4 I-Team has left repeated messages over the last couple of months, and our calls have not been returned.

The towers in Madison are independent living centers, and some residents at the meeting pointed that out today.

But other resident stated if it is truly independent, then the outside doors should not be locked from the outside.

The residents plan on calling their Madison police precinct to see if something can be worked out.

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