Thursday, January 31, 2008

911 operator quit after falling asleep

Domonica Ivory was hired in 2001 to be one of 79 emergency call operators in Austin, Texas. In May of 2003, she was recognized as the Police Department’s Communications Employee of the Month, only to be caught sleeping on the job in October. A troubling trend was starting to emerge. In July 2007, the bottom fell out.

Caller: “Hello. Is someone on the line?”

This unanswered call was about a drunk driver. Another involved a man and woman who were being threatened. Supervisors claim they caught Ivory sleeping seven times between July 9 and October 15. “Certainly, having a 911 call taker sleeping on the job is a very serious matter,” said Rocky Burke, communications division manager.

Then e-mails about Ivory started to pile up. In August, a supervisor reported three calls routed to Ivory that were not answered. There was also a call for “shots fired” where the supervisor claims that Ivory sounded groggy. In September, the warnings continued about Ivory's slurred speech and not answering calls.

Domonica Ivory was not fired. She was not suspended and she was not moved to another shift. Ivory was put on a Performance Improvement Plan at least twice. Her job performance did not improve. It was suggested that Ivory take breaks when she felt sleepy and walk around. Ivory was also asked if she would be willing to move to another job or shift. Supervisors say she did not act on any of the offers, and continued to fall asleep. She eventually resigned. (info from KVUE)

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