N. Dakota - Clay County 911 dispatch dispute, y2k problems

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Forum editorial: Union tactics don't help dispatchers' cause


Unprofessional tactics are being used to substantiate dispatchers claims of poor working conditions at the Moorhead-Clay County Law Enforcement Center.

For months, LEC dispatchers have expressed concern that a new computer system installed last summer for the uneventful Y2K turnover has technological glitches that threaten public safety. They claim that message transmissions are difficult to hear and some data, including 911 hang-up calls, are not being processed adequately by the system.

Dispatchers havent been adequately trained and their supervisors arent willing to listen to or correct the problems, says union representative Teresa Joppa.

They are legitimate concerns that deserve a response. Moorhead Police Chief Grant Weyland and Clay County Sheriff Larry Costello say the problems are being addressed. They insist, however, that the safety of the public has not been jeopardized. ...

In her zeal to raise public awareness, however, Joppa crossed the threshold of professional fairness by alleging that the Dec. 18 death of a Hawley man might have been avoided if the new computer system did not lose a 911 call from the victim.

The area man was found dead in his home by his family, his portable phone in his hand, Joppa wrote in a letter to The Forum.

A coroners report concluded that the man died of cardiac arrest and was found an hour later by family members. There was no telephone in his hand, said Hawley Police Chief Mark Hanson. A cordless phone was lying on the floor. It was not turned on. There was no conclusive evidence that a 911 call had even been made to the LEC before the mans death, Hanson said.

Family members say a subsequent 911 call to report the mans death went through without a problem.

Joppas irresponsible and groundless claim undermines her credibility as a union spokesperson, makes her clients look foolish, and sidetracks attempts to seriously address their legitimate concerns. ...

(Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspapers Editorial Board.)

The Forum, Fargo, North Dakota http://www.in-forum.com/pub/01162000/13084.shtml ~~~~~~~~

First Y2K workday unearths no major problems - (AP) 01/04/2000

Curtis Wolfe, the chief information officer for North Dakota government, said ... We had a couple of glitches on Saturday. Very, very minor. It took five minutes to fix them, and I see us having a few more of those over the next 30 days, he said. http://www.in-forum.com/pub/01042000/11599.shtml ~~~~~~~~

Teresa L. Joppa letter: Dispatch center still has serious problems, 01/05/2000

Teresa L. Joppa, Law Enforcement Labor Services, union representative LELS Local #103, Clay County Communications Officers, Moorhead http://www.in-forum.com/pub/01052000/11725.shtml ~~~~~~~~

Letter alleging Clay 911 danger outrages officials, 01/06/2000

... A remodeling project at the dispatch center was completed in October but dispatchers say technical bugs have yet to be fixed and officials have been slow to respond. ...

... Joppa, who works for the union Law Enforcement Labor Services... went public with dispatchers concerns in December. In a letter dated Dec. 15 to Costello and Moorhead Police Chief Grant Weyland, she outlined a list of complaints from dispatchers. They included:

* 911 hang-up calls may or may not be printed in the dispatch center. Some calls can be, and have been, lost, Joppa said.

* Information which fails to show on a dispatchers screen disappears if a call is made to fire or ambulance personnel.

* Dispatchers received inadequate training on the new system. ... In her letter to the editor, Joppa renewed concerns ... computers fail to accept new data when dispatchers take a call.... . The dispatchers are concerned that problems with the 911 system may have contributed to [a] mans death. http://www.in-forum.com/pub/01062000/11913.shtml

-- Lee Maloney (leemaloney@hotmail.com), January 21, 2000


Response to N. Dakota - Fargo's 911 dispatch dispute, y2k problems

Correction. Header should read

Subject: N. Dakota - Clay County 911 dispatch dispute, y2k problems

(Not "Fargo," -sigh)

-- Lee Maloney (leemaloney@hotmail.com), January 21, 2000.

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