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Police officers demoted for mishandling kidnapped teen’s call

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — Several senior police officers were demoted for “severe failure of conduct” in their handling of the phone call from one of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers.

A committee investigating the call found that the police officers at the Judea and Samaria Police emergency call center considered the call a prank and did not follow up by notifying the army, according to protocol.

The center received the call at 10:25 p.m. June 12 from someone who whispered “We’ve been kidnapped,” according to the panel’s findings released Monday. The call was cut off after two minutes.

A senior officer who called the number back eight times received busy signals and then the voice mail. The officer did not tell her supervisors about the call.

The soldier who received the call initially was found to have acted properly by transferring the call to a supervisor.

The bodies of the three teens — Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach — were found in the West Bank on Monday afternoon in a field north of Hebron.

“Not providing a proper response to a man’s cry of distress is an unforgivable event by every measure that can ultimately undermine the public confidence in the police, which is a cornerstone of police activity,” Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said after the release of the report.

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