Family of Fallen Leon County Deputy Gets $950K from CDA

CDA Board
Posted at 5:00 PM, Jan 18, 2017
and last updated 2018-09-25 13:44:01-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- The Consolidated Dispatch Agency board has agreed to a settlement with the family of Chris Smith, the Leon County deputy ambushed and killed while responding to a house fire in 2014.

The board took just 20 minutes Wednesday to discuss the matter and voted unanimously for the settlement, totaling $950,000.

"Today, having some closure to this is significant for us," said Leon County sheriff Walt McNeil, one of the CDA board members. "It means that we can now turn the page and move forward."

CDA director Dee Crumpler said the tragedy prompted significant change to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.

Smith was responding to a house fire on November 22, 2014, when he was shot and killed by a man the CDA knew had intentions of harming first responders -- but dispatchers failed to notify Smith and his colleague of what's called a "premise hazard."

Since then, Crumpler has created a "stop-to-go" feature, forcing dispatchers to alert first responders of a critical "premise hazard."

The CDA also reorganized its alerts to ensure the ones involving the highest risk are top-priority.

"This is a computer-aided dispatch system. Humans are involved. We're going to make mistakes, but what we are 100 percent committed to is fixing those problems and ensuring that they don't happen again," Crumpler said.

The family of Chris Smith was not at Wednesday afternoon's meeting. Their attorney tells WTXL he plans to address the public, once all of the settlement is finalized.

The settlement still needs approval from the city and county commission.

Both will vote on awarding an additional $200,000 each, for a grand total of $1.3 million.