Friday, February 29, 2008

911 staffers quit over monitor cameras

Two emergency dispatchers in Carroll County, New Hampshire, resigned after security cameras were installed so the sheriff could observe employees.

Sheriff Scott Carr had the cameras installed so he could monitor the center from home after he discovered a few of the dispatchers misbehaving. "I just happened to show up one evening unannounced, and I saw a road race in progress," Carr said. "Two cars were racing around the administration building."

Carr said the employees were good at their jobs, and he didn't want to fire them. So he instead notified county commissioners and the call center employees that cameras wer being installed. Some dispatchers said they got used to the cameras.

"We acted kind of stiff for a few days, and then we just go on with business," dispatcher Tracy Waterman said. "It doesn't really affect any of us." Two dispatchers resigned after the cameras were installed, and local newspapers have examined what some have called an invasive management style.

Carr said he has used the cameras to check up on the dispatchers both on his office computer and his home computer. "I saw one of my people leave. I watched him walk down the hallway out the door and clicked to another camera and watched him get into his car and leave the building," Carr said. "I watched it for 12 to 15 minutes. My other dispatcher got out of the car with a banana split and an ice cream sundae in the other hand."

Officials said that installing the cameras was legal, and the county commissioner's office confirmed that there was open discussion about putting the cameras online, and signs were posted.

Carr has worked for Carroll County for 30 years, nine of them as sheriff. He said he hopes to leave office in December surrounded by less drama, but he said critics just come with the job. (info from WMUR TV and Dispatch magazine)

No comments: