911 operator who failed to notify police of emergency failed before
She quit six months after the death of a woman who called to report she was trapped in a vehicle in a pond - which the dispatcher failed to log
By Jeannie Nuss
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A Little Rock 911 operator who resigned after a woman died following a dispatching delay this year was fired from a previous dispatching job for "poor work performance," according to documents that The Associated Press obtained Thursday.
The city of Little Rock hired Candace Middleton last year. She quit on June 14, six months after the drowning death of Jingle Yi. The head of Little Rock's police and fire departments' communications branch has said Middleton failed to enter Yi's 911 call into a computer system that would have notified police and fire dispatchers that she and her son were trapped in a vehicle in a pond.
Middleton was fired from her job with the Little Rock suburb of Benton in February 2011, according to records the AP obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
"We regret that it has come to this point, but due to your poor work performance over the past several months, we have no other choice but to terminate your employment with the City of Benton, effective immediately," Communications Center Supervisor Thomas L. Griffin wrote in a memo dated Feb. 15, 2011.
Benton Police Capt. Scotty Hodges said Griffin no longer works for the city, and he said he didn't have any information about Middleton.
Middleton didn't respond to a phone message left Thursday evening. She has not been charged with any wrongdoing in Yi's death.
Police have said a county dispatcher transferred Yi's Jan. 14 call to Middleton, who spoke with Yi briefly before hanging up and contacting an ambulance service. Police officers and firefighters weren't dispatched until about a half-hour later — after the ambulance service called to verify that they were en route.
Yi died hours later. Her son was hospitalized. His current condition isn't clear. Little Rock Police spokeswoman Sgt. Cassandra Davis didn't return a phone call Thursday, but earlier this week, she said she didn't know the son's medical condition. A phone number for Yi's family could not be located.
Documents from Benton show Middleton had been warned for dispatching problems before she was fired from her job there.
"Candy Middleton confirmed an out of state warrant on the wrong person, causing the subject to be arrested and transported to jail," according to a warning from 2010.
Another warning from that year chided Middleton for other problems.
"Candy failed to get the description of a subject that had fired shots in the area, causing an officer safety risk," the warning says. "Candy also advised responding officers that caller refused any other information, when he only said he didn't want to give his name."
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