Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Dispatch Dirty Deal

Yesterday we blogged of seven Lauderdale County employees who recently lost their jobs as dispatchers for the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department. We've been informed that the actual number was six--four full-time and two part-time. There's several layers to this story, and we will not be able to go into all of them today. Let's just say it will be interesting when each layer is carefully pulled back and examined.

As each question concerning these terminations is answered, three more are generated. While most citizens of the county have sympathy for anyone who loses a job, the bottom line for most is money. Isn't the consolidation a good move?

Yesterday we stated it was, and we still believe that to be true; however, the job title of "dispatcher" doesn't seem to cover adequately what these employees did for the sheriff's office. Here's a few of the extra duties these dispatchers performed:

1. Maintaining protection from abuse orders

2. Checking and pulling warrants

3. Assigning case numbers for reports

4. Maintaining officer overtime log

5. Running driver license and car tag numbers

6. Several other small clerical duties

Will the 911 dispatchers now handle this? We understand the Lauderdale EMA has firmly refused to consider doing so. That means not only will Lauderdale County now be paying 911 for its services, the county will also have to hire part-time clerical help for the above referenced tasks.

We also understand while Sheriff Ronnie Willis made a huge pretense of attempting to influence 911 to hire the terminated dispatchers, Lauderdale's 911 office had already hired the additional dispatchers needed before the termination was officially announced.

Are the fired dispatchers mad? Obviously they're not happy, but they are not vindictive. Will there be lawsuits? We don't know. We will follow the story as more develops.


There are some reports around the courthouse that these dispatchers will not be allowed to draw their unemployment compensation. While the two part-time employees may not be eligible, the four full-time certainly should be. If any are denied, please contact us.


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