When you call 9-1-1, you expect the operator to help you handle whatever situation you’re in… right? I mean, that’s the way it works when people call emergency services about delivering babies, about being held hostage, and even when a toddler called about a fashion emergency.
But a dispatcher in Houston is accused of hanging up on callers who desperately needed her help.
According to KTLA, Crenshanda Williams has been charged with interference with an emergency telephone call.
So how did supervisors put together the pieces?
Williams worked for the Houston Emergency Center as a dispatcher since July of 2014. Within a little over a year, supervisors who reviewed her call logs found that she had a strangely high number of “short calls.” In the emergency response business, those are classified as calls with a duration of less than 20 seconds.
Supervisors became suspicious on March 12, when Williams allegedly hung up on several callers in a row. They then pulled the recordings for the calls Williams had taken, and there were thousands that she’d disconnected prematurely between October 2015 and March 2016.
During one call, Williams answered, “Houston 9-1-1. Do you need medical, police, or fire?”
The caller said, “This is a robbery.”
The dispatcher sighed and hung up the phone, according to court documents, and when investigators tracked down the caller, he confirmed that he’d been hung up on—and during that crime, one person died before police arrived.
According to police records, Williams admitted to disconnecting the calls. Her reason? She “did not want to talk to anyone at that time.”
The next day, Williams disconnected several more calls—and in one, the recording captured her saying, “Ain’t nobody got time for this, for real.”
Sorry, lady, but isn’t that your job?
What Do You Think?
What would you do if you called 9-1-1 and the dispatcher hung up on you? Most of the people affected by this dispatcher’s alleged hang-ups simply called again and spoke with a different dispatcher… but in these situations, seconds count.