DANDRIDGE, Tenn. — A longtime guard at the Mountain View Academy for Young Men said he was fired after calling emergency services to the facility earlier this month.
Chris Davis told 10News he needed backup dealing with four inmates fighting at the Dandridge youth prison run by TrueCore on Jan. 6. He said he called multiple times for more assistance from guards at the facility and none arrived.
He said his arms began to cramp up and let go of the young man he was restraining to pull out his personal cell phone and call 911.
Within days, the 14-year veteran of the prison had been fired.
His termination letter, reviewed by 10News, said: "Although TrueCore does not prohibit staff from contacting 911 when they perceive the situation warrants it, Supervisor Davis was not in a life or death emergency situation, which could not have been controlled by the increased staff presence."
In a statement, a TrueCore spokesperson said the company does not comment on specific personnel matters.
"TrueCore values our close working relationship with local law enforcement. We have specific and longstanding policies about how and when staff may contact the local authorities for support in emergency situations. We will continue to partner with local law enforcement to keep our employees, the youth in our care, and the community safe," the spokesperson said.
A spokesperson for the Department of Children's Services said it had not spoken to TrueCore about the incident but said, "we defer to TrueCore on all personnel matters.”
"911 where is your emergency?"
Davis' call to Jefferson County 911 dispatch is brief.
"Can we get the police over here to Mountain View Development Center? I got four students refusing to go up and they trying to fight us," he said.
A dispatcher asked which unit to which to send help, Davis responded "Delta."
When she asked for his name, he hesitated, gave it and then said:
"Um...just disregard. Just disregard, okay?"
The dispatcher still contacted a Dandridge Police Officer detective who was on scene investigating a prior incident. He checked it out and reported no additional officers were needed.
"Not life or death"
Davis' termination letter confirms he was responding to four youth refusing to comply with staff directions in the Delta unit. It states he radioed for additional assistance, to which more staff responded.
"During the intervention," it reads, "Supervisor Davis can be seen on camera stopping mid-restraint, pulling out his personal cellular device and making a phone call."
The letter reads:
"Per the Mountain View Academy Riot and Disturbance Plan, "During a time of facility disturbance, the Facility Administrator must assess security and safety. If the Code Blue, Code Blue Strong and Code Yellow procedures prove ineffective after a time period of no longer than one hour or staff lose sight and/or sound of youth, the Facility Administrator is authorized to notify Dandridge Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff's Department or Tennessee Highway patrol."
It said Davis "failed to communicate to his superiors his perceived need for law enforcement involvement and also failed to notify his superiors 911 was contacted and were responding to the facility."