May 24, 2007
A 911 dispatcher was arrested while on the job. According to an arrest warrant she was caught with drugs at work.
Court documents say the 911 dispatcher was caught with cocaine and marijuana while on the job. Management said she was immediately relieved of her duties.
On Monday, police answered a 911 call at the very place that issues emergency calls, the Emergency Communications Center.
Forty-four-year-old Jeanine Miller of Afton, a newly hired dispatcher was suspected of having drugs at work. She had been on the job just five weeks training as a dispatcher when she was arrested.
Miller was charged with the felony of drug possession. According to the arrest warrant she did knowingly possess cocaine and marijuana while acting in the course of her professional practice.
“Occasionally, things like this happen and what we want to say is thank God it doesn't happen very often,” said Tom Hansen of the Emergency Communications Center.
That's because a 911 operators job critical. They are the life line between a person in need of help and the first responder.
“We are very reliant on everything that they do from the initial call taking that takes place and the communications they provide us. So it is very critical that we have dispatchers who are at the top of their game,” said Charlottesville Fire Chief Charles Werner.
“This radio that is on my shoulder is a life line and sometimes it is the only thing that separates a police officer that is on the side of the road from getting help when he or she needs it,” said Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo.
Miller again no longer works at the ECC.
She appeared in court on Tuesday and has been released on bond. A condition of her bond is that she stay drug free and is to appear in drug court on June 5th.
Albemarle County has a policy of drug testing new employees and also performs random drug tests. The ECC said Jeanine Miller was drug tested before she began her job and tested negative.
The first responders we spoke to also said they have never had a problem with any dispatcher. Also, they say that the ECC has a good reputation and this seems to have been an isolated incident.