Crenshanda Williams, aged 44, has been sentenced to prison after it emerged that during her time as a former 911 operator she had hung up on thousands of people seeking help from emergency services. She was found guilty of interfering with emergency phone calls and has been sentenced to 10 days in jail and 18 months in probation.
Investigators say they became suspicious after Crenshanda worked as an emergency call handler for a year and a half and during that time never had a phone call longer than 20 seconds. Police soon realised that she was systematically hanging up on all of her calls, and as a result she was fired in August 2016 and charges were brought against her.
Every second counts in an emergency situation.https://t.co/xWT48OmnhN— 🇺🇸🇺🇸Luke 8:17🇺🇸🇺🇸 (@Luke8171) April 19, 2018
So far that are no exact details on how many calls were missed because of her behaviour, or what the full extent of the damages were, but many people have contacted the press and the police to tell them that their own attempts at seeking help were ignored.
When one man called 911 he tried to explain the nature of his emergency but was cut off by Crenshanda who told him,
“Ain’t nobody got time for this. For real.”
Another caller apparently tried to report a violent robbery when Crenshanda hung up on them before they could describe the emergency.
District attorney Lauren Reeder told the press,
“The citizens of Harris County rely on 911 operators to dispatch help in their time of need. When a public servant betrays the community's trust and breaks the law, we have a responsibility to hold them criminally accountable.”
Texas emergency operator jailed for 911 call hang ups: Crenshanda Williams terminated calls… https://t.co/jDgXKaNuzc— Andre Gottshalk (@Andre_Gottshalk) April 19, 2018
Meanwhile Crenshanda’s own defence attorney told reporters that their client “was going through a hard time in her life.” They also said that “punishing her doesn't do anything to fix the problems that still exist at the emergency centre” although it remains unclear what those problems are, and how they contributed Crenshanda’s decision to hang up on thousands of people seeking emergency help.