Albany 9-1-1 center investigation broadens to all operators - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany 9-1-1 center investigation broadens to all operators

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The investigation into unauthorized use of a law enforcement computer system at the Albany 9-1-1 center is expanding.

Wednesday afternoon the city manager denied LaToya Smith's appeal of her firing.

The city accepted Jeanita Fulmore's resignation.  They admitted making numerous unauthorized checks of people on the Georgia Crime Information Center computer system.

Investigators are now checking G-C-I-C records to see if any other operators misused the confidential system.

Albany city officials say they're taking this investigation seriously.

Law enforcement says those 9-1-1 operators have to be trustworthy, because their officers lives could be put in jeopardy if they are not.

"Albany 9-1-1, what is your emergency?" All Albany 9-1-1 operators are under investigation now, as city officials pour over computer records on G.C.I.C. checks. Sheriff Kevin Sproul says law enforcement needs to know their dispatchers are trustworthy.

Sheriff Kevin Sproul said "We rely on dispatchers. We rely on those individuals. They are our backbone so to speak. They cover us. They have our back."

9-1-1 operators undergo extensive background checks, including polygraph and fingerprint tests, just like police officers or firefighters.

Albany 9-1-1 Communications Manager Charlotte Floyd said "They are public safety employees and they have a lot of confidential information in front of them all day long. "

Besides dispatching emergency calls, the 9-1-1 center keeps a GPS mapping location of every police car and fire truck in the city. They also have the city's surveillance cameras up live. Information that gangs or organized criminal groups would like to have. The 9-1-1 operators also check the state's criminal computer system for officers in the field.

Albany 9-1-1 Assistant Communications Manager Latonya Debruce said "Driver's license information, vehicle information, when they are out on robberies they want to know if things are stolen, and those kinds of things."

And city officials say the 9-1-1 operators undergo training, have to be re-certified every two years, and sign forms saying they understand the G.C.I.C. is not something to play with or share with others. The 9-1-1 operators have been briefed on the ongoing investigation into their actions.

 Floyd said "they are out there right now doing their job. They do understand that we have to do what we have to do. And they are going on about their business."

City officials say will take action against any other employees if found to have misused the state computer system.

Albany city officials are keeping the district attorney, the sheriff's office, and the GBI up to date on their investigation as it continues, in case criminal charges are to be filed. Unauthorized use of the G.C.I.C. system is a felony.

The Albany 9-1-1 center already had four job openings for operators.

Now with Smith and Fulmore's firings, there are six job openings the city needs to fill.