published Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Murray 911 dispatchers fell asleep on duty multiple times, files show

CHATSWORTH, Ga. — Two 911 dispatchers in Murray County fell asleep multiple times while on duty in the last three months and at least once a medic unit called the dispatch center twice before someone else responded to the radio traffic, according to employee files.

Zerita Duncan was fired on April 4, and Ginger Parker turned in a letter of resignation after being told April 11 that she would likely be terminated.

Both women had received written warnings about sleeping on duty after separate incidents in February, their files show.

Duncan was placed on paid suspension on March 30 after video showed her sleeping on March 26 and 28. She was fired after a three-day suspension.

Parker turned in an undated letter of resignation after 911 officials told her second infraction on April 10 was grounds for termination under county policy.

During that incident at 4:30 a.m., "Parker has her bare feet propped on the desk leaning back in her chair, head tilted to the side, eyes closed and arms crossed," the report says.

Co-workers called the 911 director after realizing that Parker had missed radio traffic and did not respond when they called her name.

Murray County 911 Director Peggy Vick said that sleeping while on duty is against county policy. Dispatchers work 12-hour shifts and can take breaks if they get someone to cover their calls for a short time, Vick said.

about Mariann Martin...

Mariann Martin covers healthcare in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. She joined the Times Free Press in February 2011, after covering crime and courts for the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun for two years. Mariann was born in Indiana, but grew up in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Belize. She graduated from Union University in 2005 with degrees in English and history and has master’s degrees in international relations and history from the University of Toronto. While attending Union, ...

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