Tenn. dispatchers in trouble for use of IM system
8,700 pages of messages in investigation, 'inappropriate' use cited
By Chattanooga Times Free Press staff
HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. — An investigation begun six months ago found that 11 Hamilton County Emergency District employees "repetitively and inappropriately" misused an emergency instant messaging feature and violated policies, resulting in disciplinary actions up to and including termination.
The investigation concluded Thursday, according to a news release from the district.
Last October, a probe was launched after managers learned that employees were using inappropriately an office feature called CHAT — an internal operational tool of the Computer Aided Dispatch that allows for quicker distribution of critical information through instant messaging between on-duty telecommunicators, the news release said.
More than 8,700 pages of messages came out of the investigation, the news release stated.
Administrative hearings were held with the employees, and disciplinary actions ranged from termination to three-day suspension without pay.
"This investigation was focused on the conduct of our employees," Executive Director John Stuermer said in the news release. "We found no evidence that the district's ability to provide timely emergency service to citizens or first responders was impaired or jeopardized."