911 Operator Sentenced For Hanging Up On Thousands Of Callers
Harris County, TX – A Harris County 911 operator has been sentenced to 10 days in jail, after she hung up on “thousands” of people who placed emergency calls for help, prosecutors said.
A jury found Crenshanda Williams, 44, guilty of interference with emergency telephone calls on Wednesday, the Houston Chronicle reported.
In addition to the brief jail sentence, Williams was also ordered to serve 18 months on probation.
An investigation into Williams’ behaviors was initiated after routine monthly audits by Houston Emergency Center officials found that Williams had a high volume of “short calls,” which lasted less than 20 seconds.
Prosecutors discovered that in “thousands” of these short calls, Williams had hung up on the reporting parties, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“Thousands of short calls have been attributed to the defendant from October 2015 through March 2016,” court documents noted, according to KTRK.
She was fired by the city in August of 2016, having worked for the agency for 18 months, the Houston Chronicle reported.
In one 2016 instance, a man called 911 to report two speeding vehicles on a section of highway where two people had been killed in a speeding-related crash several weeks prior, FOX News reported.
When the call disconnected, the man initially believed there was a problem with the cell phone connection, so he called 911 again.
Before he was able to finish explaining what he had witnessed with regards to the speeding vehicles, Williams cut him off yet again.
“Ain’t nobody got time for this. For real,” Williams said, according to FOX News.
On another occasion, Williams hung up on a caller who was attempting to report a violent robbery, the Houston Chronicle reported.
According to CNN, the reporting party saw a man with a gun at a store and heard shots fired, but Williams hung up on him twice, without giving him the opportunity to explain what had occurred.
The man finally reached a different 911 operator, who took his information and dispatched officers to the scene, where they found the store manager shot to death.
"The citizens of Harris County rely on 911 operators to dispatch help in their time of need," Assistant District Attorney Lauren Reeder told KTRK. "When a public servant betrays the community's trust and breaks the law, we have a responsibility to hold them criminally accountable."
Williams’ attorney, Franklin Bynum, said that his client had been “going through a hard time in her life” when she hung up on the 911 callers, FOX News reported.
“Punishing her doesn’t do anything to fix the problems that still exist at the emergency center,” Bynum claimed.
Williams’ supervisor was placed on a year of internal probation, the Houston Chronicle reported.