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Ind. Dispatcher Who Didn't Set Off Tornado Siren Fired


A Crawfordsville police dispatcher has been fired after she decided tornado sirens shouldn't be sounded last week as 21 tornadoes rolled through Indiana, police said.

Crawfordsville Police Chief Kurt Knecht said senior dispatcher Janet Clark instructed another dispatcher, Art Chrisman, to call emergency management to inquire about whether sirens should be activated.


"The response they received was to not set off the sirens," read a release from Knecht. "However, the decision to set off weather sirens does not lie with that individual."

Knecht said dispatchers are told to alert storm sirens when a tornado warning is received from the National Weather Service.

"This policy was clearly not followed," Knecht said. "As a result of this negligence, the lives of local citizens were placed in greater danger than that already present. This is unacceptable."

Knecht cited previous job performance issues in the termination of Clark.

Chrisman was given a one-day suspension, and Lt. Jim Sessions was reprimanded for not following up on why sirens were not sounded, Knecht said.

A tornado warning was issued for Montgomery County on April 19 as severe thunderstorms pelted the region.

Residents said they were glad action was taken.

"They are always testing them, but when they really needed to sound the alarm, they didn't do it. I was a little aggravated about it," said Becky Hurt, who owns a gift store in town. "I'm glad he took action, but I'm not sure I would have fired someone over it."

Officials also advised residents to buy weather radios to further warn them of approaching storms.

Chief: Dispatcher Who Didn't Set Off Tornado Siren Fired

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