Salt Lake City mayor appoints replacement for ex-911 director fired after DUI arrest

Salt Lake City mayor

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski has nominated a replacement for the city’s former 911 director who was fired after he was arrested for driving under the influence.

Biskupski announced in a news release Thursday she appointed Lisa Burnette, a longtime dispatcher and supervisor who has served as interim director since former 911 Dispatch Director Scott Freitag was arrested in January.

“Lisa has proven to be a highly effective leader and administrator as interim director of SLC911,” Biskupski said in her appointment letter to the City Council. “Under her leadership, the department has continued to provide the highest-degree of professional and exceptional lifesaving services to residents.”

Burnette started as a Salt Lake City 911 dispatcher in 1992 and worked her way up to lead dispatcher, supervisor and eventually deputy director. She helped create the city’s 911 training academy, a program for employees to manage stress, improve operational efficiency and enhance customer service, according to a city news release.

“Lisa was instrumental in improving employee morale, reducing mandatory employee overtime shifts and reducing call times,” Biskupski said. “She is an invaluable asset to Salt Lake City, with a proven history of collaboration, leadership and a strong desire to always improve. I have full confidence in her ability to lead the lifesaving work of SLC911.”

Freitag, who is also a Layton City Councilman, was arrested by Centerville police after he was pulled over when an officer noticed a Salt Lake City Corp. vehicle with exempt plates driving erratically on I-15.

His blood alcohol content was .214 percent — more than 2 ½ times the legal limit — when he was tested on the Intoxilyzer machine, according to Centerville police.

The day after his arrest, Biskupski issued a statement saying Freitag had been fired, noting that while she was “angry and disappointed” in Freitag’s behavior, she hoped “he gets help to address his problems, and that he finds the support of loved ones that he needs at this time.”

Freitag later pleaded guilty to DUI, a class B misdemeanor, in exchange for two other misdemeanor charges against him being dropped, including having an open container in a car and carrying a dangerous weapon while under the influence.

Freitag was sentenced to 72 hours of community service, plus one year of probation, and fined $1,420.

Freitag, who was previously the Salt Lake City Fire Department spokesman, was appointed director of the city’s 911 dispatch in 2012 and reappointed in 2016.

Brunette’s appointment now awaits consideration by the Salt Lake City Council.

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