ALBANY, GA (WALB) –Two Albany 9-1-1 operators are fired for giving out information from the state's criminal justice computer system.
The operators admitted they ran criminal background checks for people to let them know if there were any warrants for their arrest.
Now Investigators are working to figure out if the two gave out any other information to criminals or gangs.
Jeanita Fulmore and LaToya Smith were fired as Albany 9-1-1 Communications officers September 7th. A woman being interviewed by Albany Police in July about an armed robbery told Investigators that everyone knew if you thought there was an arrest warrant out for you, all you had to do was call Jeanita Fulmore at 9-1-1, and she would let you know.
Jeanita Fulmore brought several family members with her to her termination appeal hearing this afternoon. Her termination letter says she admitted to running numerous unauthorized searches through the Georgia Criminal Justice Information System, or the G.C.I.C.
Earlier Monday afternoon LaToya Smith also appealed her firing, even though city records say she admitted she ran numerous unauthorized checks through the system.
9-1-1 operators are not supposed to access this criminal information system unless directed by supervisors, and they sign statements saying they understand it is a criminal act to do so. City Manager Al Lott said they hold 9-1-1 operators to a higher standard. Lott said "these people are entrusted to information that's critical to the safety of police officers and firefighters. Therefore they have to be better than most, more honest than most, and forthright and have integrity."
According to their termination notice, the two 9-1-1 operators only admitted to checking arrest warrant status for people, but officials now are investigating whether the two gave out more information to help criminals or gangs. Law enforcement says gangs try to infiltrate their ranks to have information to help their criminal enterprises. City officials say their investigation is underway, and that they are keeping the District Attorney informed.
Could this investigation lead to criminal charges? Lott said "Anything's possible, anything's possible."
Al Lott heard the appeals from the two 9-1-1 operators, and said he will make a decision on their firing by the end of this week. But the investigation into the extent of their releasing law enforcement information continues.
The two 9-1-1 operators have been suspended with pay since their September 7th firing, because they filed the appeals. If they are charged criminally with unauthorized use of the G.C.I.C. system, that is a felony.
The G-B-I runs the G-C-I-C system. They have not been called into the investigation yet.
If the City of Albany were cited for misuse of the information system, local law enforcers could lose their privileges to use the system.