Chief 'Mad as Hell,' Leads to 911 Shakeup - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NC5 Investigates: 911 Emergency

Chief 'Mad as Hell,' Leads to 911 Shakeup

Sheila Jones, domestic violence victim Sheila Jones, domestic violence victim
Metro Police Lt. Duane Phillips Metro Police Lt. Duane Phillips
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean Nashville Mayor Karl Dean
Terry Griffith, who was removed as interim 911 director Terry Griffith, who was removed as interim 911 director
Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas

Metro's police chief says he was flat-out mad about what he saw in our exclusive 911 investigation.

Now, it has led to a shake-up at 911.

The center's interim director is out, and a police veteran is in.

The mayor and chief tell chief investigative reporter Phil Williams, they want our city's victims to know help will be there when they need it.

"What you documented was not the way we want things done," Nashville Mayor Karl Dean told Phil.

What especially got the chief and mayor's attention was what happened to Sheila Jones -- the domestic violence victim whose calls to 911 ended with a comment that shocked the nation.

Sheila: "I'm scared to even leave out my f***ing house."
911: "OK, ma'am, I updated the call. We'll get somebody there as soon as possible."
Sheila: [Hangs up.]
911: "I really just don't give a s**t what happens to you."

"I wasn't ticked off -- I was mad as hell," Serpas told Williams.

And one of the biggest problems, the chief says, was how interim 911 boss Terry Griffith dealt with the operator's insensitive comment.

Phil had asked Griffith, Was he fired right on the spot?"

"No," she answered, "I don't think he was fired right on the spot, no."

In fact, our investigation discovered that he was finally fired for flunking a test, instead of the comment.

"That's just unacceptable, and what I was very amazed about is that it was not immediately brought forward," Serpas said.

It was just one of numerous 911 errors uncovered by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

"What we have to do is be responsive to the public's need for safety," Dean said.

That's why the mayor decided to replace Griffith with police veteran Lt. Duane Phillips.
Phillips actually headed 911 from 2000 to 2002.

"There are several positions in government -- this is one of the key ones -- where you've got to get it right," Dean added.

"And it's one of the positions that the mayor needs to know the right person is in it because it helps you sleep at night."

Serpas said, "The E-911 center in Nashville functions very well, but it does have mistakes. And when those mistakes occur, it's our first and foremost responsibility to get to the bottom of them."

The chief and mayor say Phillips not only knows how 911 is supposed to work, but he he understands what victims like Sheila Jones expect when they pick up the phone to call for help.

The city's prior boss, Roxanne Brown, resigned last year after another NewsChannel 5 investigation uncovered problems in how calls for ambulances were handled.

The mayor says he's still looking for a permanent director, but hasn't found the right person yet.

911 Operator: 'I Don't Give a S***t'
(Listen to 911 Calls)

911 Officials Say No Excuse for Response

More 911 Tapes Show Lives Endangered
(Listen to 911 Calls)

Mayor Replaces 911's Interim Director

Back to NC5 Investigates: 911 Emergency
Back to NewsChannel 5 Investigates

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