Missing medicines at Greenwood EMS sparked an investigation that found an EMT had stolen the drugs, and now she’s facing up to three decades behind bars if found guilty on her charges.
Dakota Kay Ulmen, 23, of 105 Montclair Drive, Greenwood was arrested Wednesday morning and booked at the Greenwood County Detention Center on charges of safecracking and theft of a controlled substance, first offense. She was also fired.
Magistrate Judge Ryan Johnson gave Ulmen a $20,000 cash or surety bond Wednesday afternoon and explained that if she’s found guilty the safecracking charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years, while the theft charge carries five. Neither Ulmen nor a relative who came to the bond hearing offered any comment.
On Monday morning, county officials were made aware that an EMS employee had stolen medicine from the department’s drug storage, said Greenwood County Manager Toby Chappell. The theft happened Sunday and was found Monday morning when the EMS shift changed.
Ulmen worked as an EMT, working a 12-hour shift responding to calls primarily within Greenwood’s city limits, Chappell said.
Chappell said there are a number of checks put in place to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen, and the first of these checks was what caught the discrepancy.
Greenwood County deputies were called Monday to investigate the situation, and after looking at inventory records, they set up interviews with the people who would have been working and had access to the drugs, according to a report. While interviewing Ulmen, she admitted to taking two vials of Ativan and taking them to her residence but said she hadn’t used the drugs.
Ulmen told officers where the Ativan was, and deputies were able to recover the medication, the report said.
Following the investigation, EMS Director Derek Oliver recommended that Ulmen be terminated.
“Once we were made aware there was a problem, Derek and his staff made sure it wasn’t a clerical or administrative problem,” Chappell said.
In Oliver’s letter recommending Ulmen be terminated, he said she had “displayed a pattern of misconduct” while working there.
“She has committed a serious offense that has placed Greenwood County EMS in a negative light,” Oliver said. “The theft of narcotics is a serious offense, and she is being charged by law enforcement for this offense.”
In Ulmen’s personnel file, documents detailed two previous instances where she was reprimanded for violations of policy. One memo from Sept. 27 said Ulmen admitted to taking medication from a relative for an injury she sustained while at work. County officials also learned that she had been taking medication that had not been disclosed to her employers, per policy.
“She is in a safety sensitive position and a clear mind can mean the safety of herself, her partner, and the public that we serve,” Oliver wrote in the memo. “Dakota will be monitored daily to ensure she is operating in the best interest of her patient’s and this county.”
Another memo, dated Jan. 2, said Ulmen violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, by discussing the personal information of a patient with fellow employees who were not involved on that call.
“You violated HIPAA by discussing the name, location, and health information of this patient,” Oliver wrote. “This will not be tolerated.”
In response, Ulmen was required to attend a HIPAA training later in the month.