Angie Sweeney called 911 the day before she was murdered


Sault Ste. Marie Police Services announced Tuesday it’s implementing a series of measures to improve its response to incidents of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).

The announced measures follow a thorough investigation into the murder of Angie Sweeney and three children on October 23 of last year.

SSMPS Chief Hugh Stevenson told reporters at a press conference yesterday afternoon that SSMPS responded to a call about a property and verbal dispute between Sweeney and Robert Hallaert on Oct. 22, the day before the murders. 

“During her call with the dispatcher, the victim indicated there had been a physical altercation with Hallaert two weeks prior. This information was not added to the dispatch notes to the officer and not relayed obviously to the responding officer.”

Arriving on the scene, the responding officer spoke with the victim multiple times, said Stevenson, and the officer asked Sweeney if there had ever been a physical altercation, be it that day, or in the past.

“The officer did not receive that information, and did not have the grounds to make an arrest that day,” said the Chief.

Stevenson said SSMPS conducted an in-depth review of their IPV and dispatch policies. 

As part of a pilot project, Stevenson said there will be more specific requirements when SSMPS receives IPV-related calls.

Of Sweeney’s Oct. 22 call and how critical information failed to get forwarded to the responding officer, Stevenson said, up until now, SSMPS had a dispatching system whereby the same Emergency Reporting Bureau member took  911 calls, and then dispatched it. During the time of the call, the phone line was left open. The dispatcher may have been dispatching units to the scene when the disclosure of a prior physical altercation was made. Inadvertently, the information “did not get in” to the dispatch notes.

The victims’ families and local agencies were notified of the new measures prior to Tuesday’s presser.

“I understand the community is still healing and I recognize our role as a police agency to be transparent with our community and to make improvements in the service that we deliver,” said Stevenson.

Some of the specific areas of focus going forward will be:

  • Updating of the SSMPS IPV policy and its Communication and Dispatch policy
  • Enhanced training for all Central Emergency Reporting Bureau (dispatch) members
  • Continuous review of calls for service to ensure high-quality professionalism, empathy and decision-making

“I was very clear at the last news conference that we would do a full deep dive and investigation into the situation and we have,” Stevenson said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *