911 call taker doesn't back down from racist comments

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on June 6, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 7 at 8:49 AM

DALLAS -- The Dallas Police Department has been under fire for its understaffed and beleaguered 911 call center.

Under pressure to hire more call takers, the department quickly hired 45 new 911 operators over the last few months. One of those hired was April Sims.

Yesterday, she was fired for racist comments posted on her Facebook page.

“I think you have to look deep into backgrounds now in today's time - especially with today's technology - so you can kind of get a feel who is on the payroll," said Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway.

DPD didn’t answer questions Thursday about this case, but in a briefing for city council at the end of March, the department said it created a specialized recruiting team, purchased more equipment to test applicants, and dedicated personnel to conduct background investigations.

Former 911 operators who contacted News 8 on Thursday say they don't condone Sims' actions, but say it can be frustrating to work there.

"Things will never change down there," one former operator told us. "Training is a mess, no one is ever on the same page, no breaks, and you have to ask to go to the bathroom."

"It's pathetic," another former operator said. "No one is ever on the same page there, you don't actually learn anything until you’re on the phone with people lives in your hands. I left for that reason. I did not want to be a part of it."

News 8 exchanged e-mails with fired 911 operator April Sims, but she declined to talk on the record about her Facebook page. However, she did post this comment, “So, apparently there are people who are looking to add me as a friend on Facebook, because they support my message. [...] Hopefully many other people can freely speak their minds with no fear. God Bless America!"

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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