911 concerns heat up Gibson Co. Commission meeting

GIBSON COUNTY, Tenn. — The Gibson County Commission meeting was routine, up until a resolution came up that proposed a mandatory 40 hours of training for 911 dispatchers.

“This has risen past the point of concern, for a lot of people, and it has gone into the area of disgust,” Mayor Tom Witherspoon said.

Sheriff Paul Thomas says his deputies are running into problems due to dispatch confusion.

“Lack of receiving all the information you need sometimes,” Sheriff Thomas said. “Not all the time, but there’s certain information that all officers need when they go to a call.”

In the meeting, the sheriff also cited an incident where he said Gibson County 911 Director Johanna Harrell was not helping out in an urgent situation.

Harrell says she does a month of training with each dispatcher, but high turnover means they have many young employees, who are not paid well.

“I do have a training program in place, and it’s a fluid document. We are adding to it every day,” Harrell said.

Both Thomas and Harrell agreed that things need to change.

“We’re going to continue to add things,” Harrell said. “We’re going to do online training that is free and offered by the state, and we will attend training.”

The resolution was eventually tabled.

Mayor Witherspoon said if the situation does not improve, they would look at taking legal action.

Categories: Local News, News