Segarra Fires Head Of Hartford's Emergency Services
'Not Happy With Level Of Services'
By JENNA CARLESSO
August 22, 2013
HARTFORD — — Mayor Pedro Segarra has fired Andrew Jaffee, the head of emergency services and telecommunications, saying he's not satisfied with the leadership of the department and its response to the community.
Segarra said Thursday that he recently completed an investigation into Jaffee's department, which has come under fire several times during the last few years. Earlier this month, a dispatcher was suspended without pay for five days for uttering a racial epithet over radio transmissions. In 2011, another dispatcher was reprimanded for a mistake that resulted in an almost three-month delay in finding a woman's body.
"I'm not happy with the level of services," Segarra said Thursday. "As mayor I made a decision that I need to make a change and I think this change will be to the benefit of the community."
Segarra said the city's goal is to have every dispatcher treat callers in a "sensitive," "respectful" and "responsive" manner.
Dispatcher Andrew Nichols was suspended on Aug. 1 for uttering the racial epithet. He also was ordered to attend cultural diversity training.
On July 22, officials said, Nichols dispatched a unit to the South End to resolve an apparent neighborhood dispute. During the radio transmission, he can be heard making the remark, then correcting himself.
Dispatcher Luz Cashman was issued a written reprimand in 2011 for mistakenly giving wrong information to police who had been investigating the possibility of a body at 211 Goodrich St.
The dispatcher's error kept police from entering the home in May 2011. City police eventually were called back to the residence on July 29, and they discovered a woman's decomposing body. Neighbors had said they last saw the woman — 48-year-old Debra Jurasus-Shriner — in February of that year.
"Frankly, there were just too many instances of what I perceived to be as neglect — circumstances [that] are not acceptable to us, or to the community that we serve," Segarra said Thursday. "We take the community's safety and well being extremely seriously. I want our community to feel comfortable calling 311, calling 911, when they need to, and understanding that they have nothing but the best service when they make that call."
Police Chief James Rovella and others will assist in the transition as the city seeks a new emergency services supervisor, Segarra said.
The mayor warned that he was not finished reviewing procedures in Jaffee's department. A "random sampling" of dispatch conversations will be conducted to gauge what needs to be improved, he said.
Jaffee, a former Hartford police sergeant, made an annual salary of $113,339.20. His termination was effective Thursday.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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