Officers show support for fired Arlington dispatcher

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by CRAIG CIVALE

WFAA

Posted on October 7, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 7 at 7:37 PM

ARLINGTON - After the shooting death of Officer Jillian Michelle Smith in December of last year in Arlington, a dispatcher was fired over policy violations involving the case.

Now, officers are supporting Joanie Ware, the terminated dispatcher, as she prepares to go to arbitration next week. Ware served as a dispatcher for the City of Arlington for nine years.

While no side has said the violations contributed to Smith's death, the Arlington Police Association said they believe Ware was used as a scapegoat for much larger problems at the telecommunication department.

APD supervisors said they found serious mistakes, saying the dispatcher did not properly warn responding officers that Smith possibly had been shot and that the gunmen could still be in the area.

In records released last April, it stated that when Smith did not respond to calls from the radio, it took 15 minutes before more officers were sent to check on her.

Friday morning, the Arlington Police Association disputed the time frame and was also critical of the training dispatch employees receive.

"The APA believes that there is a disconnect between the training provided to the City of Arlington communicators and the unreasonable expectations from AFD command," said Randle Meadows, president of the Arlington Police Association. "The telecommunicators appear to be trained to one standard, but held to another."

The APA says the fire chief who oversees the telecommunication department continues to not work with the union over their concerns.

Ware has an arbitration hearing Monday, which is where the APA says specific details that backup their claims will be heard.

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com

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