Law Enforcement Specialties >> Communications Center >> Management Problems, help?

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Management Problems, help?

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Posted almost 5 years ago

 



 


Hello all,


Recently we've been experiencing some personnel problems in our Dispatch Center -mainly with our 911 director.

We are the sole dispatch center for our county and operate with 15 dispatchers (5 to a shift, 3 eight hour shifts, rotating respectively). Our county agencies are made up of 10 police agencies 14 fire, and 5 multi- township EMS agencies. When the county and city dispatches combined we became a central dispatch center, but with that we became our own entity (apart from the sheriff's department) and were put under the control of a 911 Board which consisted of the Sheriff, one of the Police Chiefs, the county seat's Mayor, the County Administrator, and the a County Fire Chief representing all the firefighters.


Our problem right now is that we are trying to get rid of our director and be put back under the supervision of the sheriff, or at least appoint new members on our board that can be held accountable for issues we've been dealing with. For instance, an atrocious turnover rate -23 dispatchers in 10 years. Some of other said issues include, hostile work environment, sexual discrimination and harassment and clear violations of HIPPA laws, favoritism - misuse of disciplinary actions, negligence of SOPs -which our department does not currently have, delegating duties that are not dispatchers jobs and punishing certain dispatchers for going above and beyond their jobs... just to name a few.


After going to our 911 board several times since 2002 with these issues and finally with written complaints from all 15 dispatchers since at least September 2009, we have not had much help and the issues are getting swept under the rug.

The sheriff on the board is more than willing to help, but with a board that will not back him up we are looking into other options. We have made it clear to our county commissioners (who have also stated they cannot help) that if something doesn't happen we are not afraid to take legal action. With that being said, they (the county commissioners) told us to come up with a solution for our problems and bring it before the 911 board.


Does anyone have experience with a board over their 911 center?

Does anyone have any input on different actions to take?

Has anyone experienced any problems like this before, and what were your actions to resolve them?

Any suggestions and input is strongly welcomed...


Thanks!


 

100_0015_max50

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

I was waiting to see if anyone else replied before I said anything. Until April of 2009 we were in the Sheriff's Department, and then we were taken over by Emergency Management. The EM Director is also the fire marshall, etc (kind of a jack of all trades) and is a very fair person, I love working for him. I also loved working for the Sheriff, too, but since they were building a new jail/sheriff's office on the other side of town that didn't include room for us (which they officially occupied today) it was decided that we needed to be more closely supervised by people who were staying downtown. Needless to say, except for the constant turnover and the lack of a real SOP, our situations are completely different. That said, I have heard of agencies that have had simililar experiences with "consolidation" here in NC, and the sheriff's who gave up control of their comm centers have rued that day ever since. It took one "newly" elected sheriff 10 years to get the comm center back that his predessesor had let go. I hope that ours hasn't made the same mistake, that we are still able to provide him with the level of service that he is looking for.


As for your problems with your director, it sounds like you are going about things the right way, but, unfortunately, that no one in "authority" is listening. Since y'all have been trying to take care of business quietly for over 7 years now and nothing is getting done, someone is gonna have to take out the laundry and get someone from the outside involved. Whether that's a state or federal agency, or the press even, thats your call. Of course, what I just said would be political suicide, so someone is gonna have to take one for the team. Maybe you have someone who is retiring soon, or whatever, but thats the only thing i can see to do, because it looks like you've tried all of the in house options. Maybe the Sheriff has some political pull with the voters in the county? Maybe make it an election issue? I don't know what else to tell you, but I really do feel for you guys. It seems that the 911 centers are always the pawns in everyone's power struggles.


 

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Rate This | Posted over 4 years ago

 

Do you have a union?

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Rate This | Posted over 4 years ago

 

 As long as you have everything documented, especially the sexual harassment, then I would suggest going to a reliable press entity, preferably someone on television news, not print, and someone who is going to guarantee your anonymity. And, when I say "you", I am referring to a group of you, not just one employee. Make sure all your ducks are in a row and you have all the documentation to back up the complaints, and I would bet a good investigative journalist will jump on the chance to do an expose' of your agency's problems. 


What I don't understand is, if there is sexual harassment, was a formal complaint ever filed? I am focusing on this particular problem because it is the one that can be addressed on multiple levels, including a federal court. Usually a complaint of this nature will be taken up the chain of command through one's human resources department, and will not be dropped until a complete investigation is done. Obviously, if the complaint is handled "in house" and on the lowest level, then there is no resolution, and soon there is a breakdown in the work unit.


You can't have a healthy work environment in a dispatch center if there is any level of hostility, especially if it is between supervisory and subordinate personnel. The lack of cohesion eventually seeps out into an officer safety issue, regardless of how hard you try to keep control of your radio discipline. The very nature of the dispatch job entails dependence on your fellow workers to back you up when the scat hits the fan. You need each other. You can't afford to have any prima donnas or bullies. Everyone has to be working on the same page. Even the first line supervisors. 


I truly wish you the best of luck in resolving this issue. Sometimes it takes a very long time to get any results, and one can lose hope of ever seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. A good question was asked: do you have a union? 

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Rate This | Posted about 3 years ago

 

ps4436 says ...



 As long as you have everything documented, especially the sexual harassment, then I would suggest going to a reliable press entity, preferably someone on television news, not print, and someone who is going to guarantee your anonymity. And, when I say "you", I am referring to a group of you, not just one employee. Make sure all your ducks are in a row and you have all the documentation to back up the complaints, and I would bet a good investigative journalist will jump on the chance to do an expose' of your agency's problems. 



 


 


 


Hi,


This is really a bad feeling that you are doing your work so sincerely and facing such problems.


I am agreed with the suggestion made above. In addition, I think firstly, you have to wait for the feedback given the country commissioners. May be there is no need to take any legal action and your matter can be solved by a peaceful discussion. I think you have to wait first. Rest is your decision.


All the best.


 


 


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