Hartford director of emergency services terminated - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hartford director of emergency services terminated

The following picture of Andrew Jaffe is from City of Hartford website. The following picture of Andrew Jaffe is from City of Hartford website.

The director of emergency services for the city of Hartford was fired Thursday, according to Mayor Pedro Segarra.

"As mayor, I made a decision that I needed to make a change and this change will be a benefit for our community," Segarra said.

Andrew Jaffe was terminated from his job with the city.

"There will continue to be an ongoing review of random samplings of emergency calls to see what can be improved," Segarra said at a news conference Thursday.

Jaffe's firing comes after an unidentified dispatcher is accused of making a racist slur in July and residents complained about treatment by dispatchers after a shooting.

"The goal is to make sure each and every dispatcher is sensitive, responsive, respectful and well trained to deal with the emergencies that come in through those lines," Segarra said.

"That's going to be 198 Fairfield Ave.," the unidentified dispatcher said on the tape. "Same code again. 71. Arguing with (expletive) neighbors over a trash can."

Following a hearing on Aug. 1, the dispatcher's boss ruled his comments were racial and violated the city's "workplace violence policy" as well as conduct unbecoming of an emergency telecommunications dispatcher.

The city employee, who had never been in trouble before, took mandatory five-day unpaid suspension and had to attend diversity training upon his return.

Members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People wanted the dispatcher fired from the department.

Neighbors on Linnmoore Street were also upset with city dispatchers after calling 911 on Aug. 12 to report shots being fired and a car speeding off shortly after. A man's body was found in the yard of a home in the 300 block of Linnmoore Street the next morning.

In the 911 recordings, listeners can tell neighbors were upset, frustrated and believing no one was listening to them.

In the recordings obtained by Eyewitness News, the dispatcher is heard sending the officers to the wrong address.

Segarra launched the investigation into dispatching services this week and is making swift changes including firing director of emergency services, Jaffee. 

"Frankly, there were too many instances of what I perceived to be neglect," Segarra said.

Jaffe was escorted out of the public safety complex Thursday and this bold change at the top won't be the only one, Segarra said.

The mayor said he will continue to listen to random emergency calls and work with Hartford Police Chief James C. Rovella to get the response to a level where residents won't be hesitant to call for help.

"I want our community to feel comfortable calling 311 and 911 when they need to and understand they'll have nothing but the best of service when they make that call," Segarra said.

In the meantime, Rovella will help in the transition while the city seeks a new emergency services director.

Eyewitness News also learned the city needs more dispatchers. Of the 47 dispatch positions, there are only 35 people working. Segarra said he is looking to fill those spots and sees it as the perfect time for top to bottom re-training.

It's something he'll look at while continuing his investigation.

"Let me be clear," Segarra said. "We take the community's safety and well-being seriously."

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