Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ohio 911 operator in trouble
for sleeping on the job

A 911 dispatcher in Warren County, Ohio, has been accused of sleeping on the job and been placed on paid administrative leave.

County Administrator Dave Gully took Shawn Mason off the job last week. He was to remain on leave until a disciplinary hearing.

Mason has a history of sleeping when he's on the clock, according to county officials. He was written up for dozing two years ago, and then given a verbal warning in September.

The most recent incident happened this month when another employee took a medical call, put it in the system and waited for Mason to send for help. When the call wasn't dispatched, Gully said, the call taker went to Mason to find out what happened. Mason was sleeping.

This allegation comes as the Warren County call center is under intense scrutiny because of a call where Ryan Widmer reported that his wife, Sarah, might have drowned in their bathtub. The dispatcher in that case, Ron Kronenberger, was not asleep, as an earlier report suggested. But he appeared confused, at one point asking Widmer if he is Sarah's mom and later failing to tell Widmer how to perform CPR. Kronenberger was not disciplined.

An outside human resources firm is reviewing the what occurred on Aug. 11, 2008, the night when Widmer reported finding his wife unresponsive.

Because of the high-profile nature of the case - Widmer was convicted of murder, but later awarded a new trial because of juror misconduct - the Kronenberger call, and the most recent sleeping allegations, are getting a lot of attention. Frank Young, the former emergency management director, abruptly resigned after the initial sleeping report surfaced.

Questions arose about whether the sleeping incident was an isolated one when a supervisor reported having trouble keeping dispatchers awake at night. Commissioners, as a result, have since called for the county emergency operation center to be analyzed. (info from the Cincinnati Enquirer)