Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

January 10, 2013

Total emergency calls in county increases by 18K over 2011

By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer

CROSSVILLE — Emergency 911 Communications Director Donald Buttram reported there were 18,000 more calls received at the center in 2012 than there were in 2011.

Buttram said that with the new CAD system only calls from March 2012 until the end of the year were recorded on the system. Buttram reported the total number of calls was at 118,788, which was up from 100,200 from 2011. The report was given during the director's report of the Central Communications Committee's quarterly meeting.

"The total number of calls is up across the board in all areas of the county," Buttram said.

He also reported two E-911 dispatch employees would be going for training with the state and once they had completed the training all dispatchers would be Public Safety Communications Certified through the state.

Buttram also reported that he will be going to Virginia for training through the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children.

"Once I complete that I will be able to train employees here and we can become a center for missing and exploited children. That is something that I have wanted to accomplish for us and I am glad that it will be happening," Buttram said.

Buttram reported that one full-time dispatcher was arrested for driving under the influence back in the summer and was placed on administrative leave. He was allowed to come back to work in dispatch pending the outcome of the case because he was not convicted yet.

"However, as the case played out he did plead guilty to the charge and I did place him on administrative leave and got information from the state board. General counsel said that the employee would have to be terminated and so that is what I did," Buttram said.

He further explained that he was advised by Curtis Sutton, deputy director of the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board that the county would not be in compliance with state law if they allowed someone convicted of such a charge to be employed as a dispatcher.

"There is a process we could go through and rehire him on a waiver. It's a lengthy process and I don't recommend we go through that. I have another part-time employee that is ready to move into the full-time position and he has helped out a lot since this happened," Buttram said. "I don't recommend we go through the waiver process, but that's up to you and this committee. I thought I would bring it before you."

Buttram explained the committee would have to make a request to the E-911 District and apply for the waiver, then approach the state board if the E-911 District approved the application. Buttram said the process could take several months.

"I hate it for the person because they are a good dispatcher, but we just can't take a chance on going into non-compliance and losing funding," Buttram said.

Crossville Police Chief David Beaty agreed and said, "We will be asking for problems if we start getting into waivers. I believe we ought to follow our director's recommendation and not pursue the waiver to rehire the person."

Cumberland County Fire Chief and EMS Director Jeff Dodson supported the motion and it was unanimously approved.

Buttram said the state board is requiring dispatch employees to be held to a higher standard the same as police officers.

No other business was brought up before the committee. The next quarterly Central Communications Committee meeting will be April 2, 2013 at 9 a.m. at the E-911 Emergency Communications Center. The public is welcome to attend.