911 director denies retirement is due to lawsuit, dodges questions about dispatchers’ mistakes

Local News

The former director of Nashville’s Emergency Communications Center said goodbye at her last public meeting Thursday. Michele Donegan is retiring after more than 30 years in Metro government. 

Last year, 911 operators sent Metro police officers to the wrong Waffle House the morning of the mass shooting because they ignored GPS coordinates for those dialing 911. 

After the incident, dispatchers were not required to undergo additional training and no disciplinary action was taken to prevent something similar from happening in the future — in fact, reviews from that day fail to note that anything went wrong at all. 

On the one year anniversary of the shooting, one of the victim’s families filed a lawsuit against Metro Government, saying the mistakes 911 operators made contributed to his death because they delayed medical help in his moment of greatest need.

One week after the lawsuit was filed, news of Donegan’s retirement came out. 

News 2 reached out to Donegan for comment but did not hear back. She has also denied News 2’s multiple requests for a sit-down interview over the last year.

After the meeting on Thursday, News 2’s Jessica Jaglois approached Donegan, and she said she didn’t want to answer any questions.

When asked if the Mayor or the lawsuit had anything to do with her retirement, she said no.

“I am very excited to be retiring after 32 years of service. I’ve been a public servant and I’ve worked really hard and I’ve enjoyed it very, very much,” Donegan said. “The notion that I’m retiring other than it’s the end of a 32-year career, anything that leads to a different notion is completely false.”

However, Donegan would not answer questions about the mistakes that were made that night or if she would have done anything differently after the mistakes were brought to light.

Mayor Briley also maintains that Donegan’s retirement has nothing to do with the lawsuit. His office says the Mayor continues to support Ms. Donegan.

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