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911 Leaders to rethink training following investigation

911 Leaders to rethink training following investigation

From our News Partners at WCBD-TV:

In the wake of allegations that an employee of the Charleston County Consolidated 9-1-1 Center ignored and mishandled calls for help, leaders are rethinking how they handle calls.

The Director of the center said they received around 2,200 calls per day. The woman at the center of this investigation, Dezerea Shelton is accused of mishandling 45 calls.

"Because these calls were few in comparison to the number of calls that were taken, they were not caught," Jim Lake, Director of the Charleston County Consolidated 9-1-1 Center said.

The calls at the center of the investigation occurred from January to August of 2013. According to the calls released to News 2, Shelton mishandled the greatest number of calls in August, where it's alleged 15 calls weren't handled correctly.

In many of the calls, Shelton told callers she would send help, even when she didn't have the full address.  Lake said the center is now creating ways for supervisors to immediately know if calls are handled incorrectly.

"We've developed an "end of shift" report that requires our supervisors to do an audit each shift to ensure that all of the calls have been sent for dispatch, and we are in the process of developing a live tool to let them know "live time" when that occurs," Lake said.

News 2 wanted to know more about the number of complaints filed against call takers, like Shelton. According to numbers given to News 2 by Charleston County, the center has had 369 complaints made against it since 2009. So far in 2013, the center has received 68 complaints. Officials said those complaints range from callers saying the dispatchers were rude to complaints that the dispatchers take too long to answer calls.

Lake said he will use the complaint filed against Shelton and her actions as a way to improve the training staff receives.

"The in-service training we do, and the new hire training, we will certainly use this as an example. But again, however, we still haven't seen the end of this to determine what was the cause or the motivation. That will help us further decide what training we might need to do," he said.

Shelton is still behind bars at this time. She was give a $40,000 bond for Obstruction of Justice and Misconduct in Office.

Image courtesy of WCBD-TV.

 

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