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Published: Wednesday, 6/19/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

911 center chief quits position

Ex-official must repay funds to Defiance Co. sheriff

BY LORENZO LIGATO
BLADE STAFF WRITER

DEFIANCE — After 16 years of service as director of the Defiance County 911 Operations Center, a Hicksville, Ohio, woman has stepped down from her position over allegations of misuse of an expense account.

Defiance County Prosecuting Attorney Morris Murray announced early Tuesday the termination of Carol Armitage as the head of the 911 Center, which dispatches for the Defiance County Sheriff’s Office, the Defiance and Hicksville police departments, and 11 area fire departments.

Mrs. Armitage had been placed on administrative leave without pay on May 2, after word of possible falsification of travel-expense documents reached Defiance County Sheriff David Westrick. He declined to comment Tuesday to The Blade, referring all questions to the prosecutor.

As part of the agreement reached between Sheriff Westrick and Mrs. Armitage, she will pay an undisclosed sum in restitution to the Defiance County Sheriff’s Office, Mr. Murray said in a statement.

Mr. Murray’s statement did not include how much money Mrs. Armitage is accused of misappropriating. Multiple calls and emails to Mr. Murray from The Blade were not returned Tuesday.

No charges will be pursued against Mrs. Armitage provided she repays the unauthorized expenses, Mr. Murray said.

Mrs. Armitage, who did not return multiple phone calls requesting comment, had been employed in the Defiance County 911 Operations Center since the emergency services center relocated into the Defiance County Sheriff’s Office in 1997.

As director of the 911 Center, Mrs. Armitage oversaw a staff of 10 full-time and three part-time staffers and was responsible for daily computer and radio operations, addressing, personnel, and budget.

Between 2003 and 2006, Mrs. Armitage was president of the Ohio Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association, a professional organization focused on emergency services, technology, and operations, said Rose Chambers, spokesman for the Wood County Sheriff’s Office

Ms. Chambers, who also was president of the Ohio Chapter of the association from 2009 to 2012, declined to comment on Mrs. Armitage’s termination, adding that she is a close friend of hers.

Mrs. Armitage also is a member of the Association of Public Safety Officials and the local Emergency Planning Committee, a board that develops plans in response to chemical spills and other accidents.

She began her career in emergency services communications at the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office in Auburn, Ind., where she served as jail officer, dispatcher, and shift supervisor from 1991 to 1997, said Paul Brewer, DeKalb County Central Communications director.

Mrs. Armitage also worked as an officer at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio in Stryker, Ohio, for a brief time between February and July, 1997, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Contact Lorenzo Ligato at: lligato@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.



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