Childers responds to public's criticism

Childers responds to public's criticism

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - City Manager Terry Childers issued a statement Friday, saying he has received hate message from citizens in response to calls he made to Amarillo Emergency Communications Center.

His full statement is below.

The Community Relations Office has issued all audio tapes related to my phone calls to Amarillo Emergency Communications Center in accordance with the Texas Open Records statute. I am disappointed that someone on the dispatch staff chose to release portions of the audio tapes to select media organizations through private channels in contravention of City policy and the Texas Open Records law. This is indicative of the challenge being faced to professionalize and hold the members of this staff accountable for their work.

During the course of the last two days I have received 10 phones calls and voice mail messages concerning the AECC. The vast majority of the messages have been positive and supportive of the actions I have taken to restore the AECC to a professionally managed organization serving the citizens of this community and our Public Safety departments. Two phone calls were highly disturbing. One voice mail message was filled with profanity. The other message was totally out of bounds. I was referred to as the "n----r boss" and "n----r go back from where you came from." I am deeply disappointed by the racially charged nature of the message and find it totally unacceptable behavior by anyone who purports to have the best interest of Amarillo at heart.

Let me be very clear. I resent being referred to as the "n-----r boss." This is unacceptable!

I have made it clear my motivation for asking for a plan to correct the evident problems at AECC. Complaints from citizens, Fire and Police personnel are legitimate. It is not acceptable to simply ignore those complaints when people's lives are at stake. A great deal has been made about my comments on the 911 tapes. I will leave it to every citizen to make a judgement on that matter. I do believe the actions I have ordered are necessary to correct longstanding problems with AECC – the total absence of Fire and Police involvement in the management and oversight of the call center, the obvious poor training of dispatchers, and the highly insulated non-accountability attitude of the operation. I am extremely confident the plan proposed by the Fire and Police Chiefs will result in a significantly improved 911 Center operation. It is on this factor alone that I wish to be judged. Not the color of my skin. Over the next several weeks and months, we will experience the improvements from the necessary changes and improvements to the dispatch operation.

I have been forthcoming with all information related to this entire incident. I will not make any additional comments on this matter. It is now time to let the two Chiefs do their work towards improving the AECC operations.

The 911 call resulted in changes that became effective Tuesday.

The Amarillo police and fire departments now have eight officers taking shifts at the call center to manage operations instead of civilians. The APD has one lieutenant and three sergeants assigned to the call center and the AFD has one captain and three lieutenants.

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