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Troubled Cincinnati 911 center has gone through six leaders in four years

Acting city manager says move is temporary
Posted at 3:01 PM, Jun 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-06 07:46:20-04

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati's information technology director will on Wednesday take over day-to-day management of the city's troubled 911 center, replacing a police captain who assumed control earlier this year.

Jayson Dunn managed Hamilton County's Emergency Communications Center before his city IT job. When he moves to Cincinnati's 911 center Wednesday, he'll be its sixth leader in four years.

Acting City Manager Patrick Duhaney described Dunn's move as temporary. By law, the 911 center still falls under Police Chief Eliot Isaac's command and oversight.

Sgt. Dan Hils, local Fraternal Order of Police president, said Capt. James Gramke was "absolutely bewildered" to learn he would be moved to the patrol bureau and relieved by Dunn.

"They were going to be probably better than we could ever imagine under Jim Gramke's leadership, and we totally upset that cart, and I don't know why," Hils said.

Duhaney said in a memo he hopes Dunn's leadership will reduce tension as outside consultants examine the 911 center and make recommendations for improvement in the wake of a death that exposed numerous faults in the system.

Cincinnati's top officials have been working to fix numerous problems at the center since 16-year-old Kyle Plush suffocated in his minivan April 10 despite two 911 calls for help and law enforcement being dispatched to his location. Those problems include issues with technology, training, staffing and morale. Duhaney promised to spend an extra $1.4 million to the center through June 2019, the end of the next fiscal year, and won approval from Council to do so.

Councilman David Mann, who chairs city council's Budget and Finance Committee, said he believes Dunn "can be very helpful right now."

"Look, we learned the very hard way that the center is not operating like it should," Mann said.

An internal police investigation largely exonerated the operators, dispatchers and officers of any wrongdoing in Plush's death. Cincinnati City Council called for an independent investigation into what went wrong.

WCPO discovered that GPS coordinates from Plush's first 911 call were within feet of where his father would find him dead hours later, but Dunn said officers don't have direct access to those coordinates on their in-car computers, and that they use an outdated mapping system.

RELATED: City admits it could've done more to save teen


The operator who took Plush's second 911 call said she had a connection trouble on her computer. At the time, the 911 center was operating out of a temporary location at Spinney Field while the primary facility on Radcliff Drive was undergoing renovations.

According to Dunaney, the city is working with contractors to upgrade its 911 technology. It will be easier for Dunn to help those contractors if he's working in the 911 center full time, Duhaney said.