The Concerned Citizen

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Are 911 dispatchers being overworked?

Commentary by: Jillian A. Cohen |  ja_cohen@theconcernedcitizen.net

According to the following statement made by Christopher Geldart, director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for the District of Columbia, who also dc dispatch centerserved as interim director of the OUC (DC911) until the appointment of Karima Holmes, 911 call takers have a very hard job. “You’re talking to people on their worst day. It’s a hard job to do normally, and then to do it for 12 hours, that’s a lot.”

Well, the Concerned Citizen has learned that 911 police, fire, and emergency medical Dispatchers, a highly skilled group of individuals who undergo countless hours of initial training coupled with a yearly mandate of continuing education, are being forced, by the Operations Manager, to answer 911 calls when not sitting in the dispatch position, “the hot seat”, as it’s called by insiders.

We talked with some current and former DC officials and were informed that Janice Quintana, a former 911 director, ended the practice mentioned above, sighting employee stress and fatigue as factors that contribute to dispatch errors. We were also advised that this same Operations Manager, who was outspokenly opposed to Ms. Quintana’s decision to end the double duty of dispatchers, resumed the practice under interim director, Teddy Kavaleri, following her departure.

Listen folks! If the singular job of a 911 call taker is considered to be extremely hard during a 12 hour shift, it’s a wonder that Dispatchers, who are being forced to take 911 emergency calls and dispatch as well during a 12 hour shift, haven’t gone crazy by now. Don’t these employees have different job descriptions?

Dear Ms. Holmes, concerned citizens of the District of Columbia would like to see their 911 call takers concentrate on taking emergency and non-emergency calls for service and Dispatchers concentrate solely on their discipline, which is to send the residents and visitors of DC the right help, to the right place, at the right time.

After consulting with medical experts, the Concerned Citizen is convinced that fatigue and stress can seriously hamper the performance of dispatchers who need to be alert and functioning at high levels of mental accuracy when dealing life and property.

The current requirement, re-established by your Operations Manager, is an accident waiting to happen. As such, we sincerely urge you, as the agency’s Director, to put an immediate stop to this ridiculous and dangerous practice, before it results in another tragic incident.

Filed under: Commentary

6 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. Concerned citizen says:

    So Ms. Ingrid “Nikki” BUCKSELL is still promoting her friend which has been recently learned is her cousin Robin Scott from lead dispatcher to Quality Insurance Adminastor for the OUC which is another made up position for BUCKSELL to promote friends and families which in the DC Government you can not hire or promote family members. If you all remember DC pass Fire Chief Ellerbe couldn’t promote his brother per rules and guidelines written in the DPM, just last year Chief Milton Douglas the father of Ingrid 3 year old son” Dillan” hired Robin Scott daughter that’s now assigned to E14 as a favor to BUCKSELL to remain silent about their son together from Douglas wife. It seems that Scott and Bucksell is aboard dating married men because Robin Scott was having a affair with Chief Briscoe that’s now retired. Scott called the affair off because Briscoe wouldn’t leave his wife that is a attorney in the DC area. Others don’t understand how with Scott function in her recent promotion when she doesn’t read or talk fluent English which is her first and only language. Robin was overwhelmed when the OUC got the auto dispatch system because she had a hard time pronouncing 80% of the street names. How much longer is DC call center is going to function under Bucksell, someone that cant even control with her 28 year old son that she hired a bail bondsmens after being arrested for a drug charges.

    • District Resident says:

      This site needs to be taken down. This is really going to far. People should not be using this site to promote hate and jealousy. This site should be used as an informative tool for the residents of the District of Columbia. I pay taxes for this agency and when I read the comments, I am concerned who is actually working at this agency. I don’t see the relevance of these comments by trying to embarrass people. Be careful that your skeletons don’t fall out. As a District resident, I will be looking into who is running this site and demand change.

    • STOP says:

      @Concerned Citizen…..Your comments are ridiculous!! what does this woman child have to do with anything. If you are on this site to give insight into the agency, keep it professional and not personal.

  2. five0grind says:

    Ms. Holmes, its obvious that some members of your staff are handsomely paid but seriously under educated. Drastic changes in personnel are needed in all areas of your agency, especially HR and Operations.

    Take it from a former employee now police officer; you have some good, knowledgeable, and educated employees there, with college degrees, that can do the job. For example; Mr. Gadston would make an excellent operations manager as would Carla Howard, both college grads with years of experience. Ms. Ortega should be running HR, etc.

    Alternatively, you have several high paid, so-called managers who are under educated and unqualified occupying crucial positions on the 1st and the 3rd floors. Check out what these people actually do compared to their position description, and you will learn that, in most cases, others in your agency are doing the same job for a lessor salary.

    You can also request desk audits and-or have managers re-apply for their position, as was successfully done in the past. Why pay for employees who bring down the morale of decent, hard working men and women, and cast a bad light on your administration and the agency in general.

    These folks are at-will employees who need to be let go and sent on their way. Maybe they can find positions elsewhere in the DC government. You don’t really need them, use that money for other necessities.

    Finally, talk privately with your employees. Although some are probably scared to talk fearing the retribution that’s been allowed to permeate in that place for years, if they trust in your word, they will, then you can listen and learn for yourself. Do the right thing!

    I’m just sayn’ …

    • STOP says:

      It is not always about formal training but being a person that knows how to direct and be directed. Anyone can be trained in a position. As a citizen of the District of Columbia, I do not find this site providing credible information. It appears that their are disgruntled employees that are using this site to throw people under the bus. I call these type of people COWARDS!! Sitting behind the computer screen.

    • REALLY!! says:

      I disagree!! Mr. Gadsden would not make a good operations floor manager. When I worked with him he barely was a good supervisor. Cara Howard is not the only educated person in the agency so stop trying to give your friends kudos.

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