One emergency operator’s actions have now landed her behind bars. According to BBC, Creshanda Williams was sentenced to 10 days in jail for hanging up on an undisclosed amount of 911 callers. The Houston resident also faces 18 months on probation.
Williams, 44, served as an operator for 18 months. During her tenure, investigators determined that she dismissed calls in less than 20 seconds. Reports state Williams didn’t feel like talking to those in distress and most of the calls dealt with robberies, murders, and other crimes.
In a statement issued to BBC, Assistant District Attorney Lauren Reeder said, “Citizens 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.”
NBC Washington interviewed a witness of Williams’ decisions. Hua Li said he dialed 911 to report a robbery at a convenience store. Once Williams picked up and asked: “how can I help you?” Li says he didn’t get a chance to explain the situation before his call was terminated. The store’s owner was shot and killed by the robber.
Instances of ignored or disconnected 911 calls stem back to a major 2006 story. In Detroit, Mich., a then 5-year-old boy phoned 911 because his mother was fell unresponsive. The dispatcher told the young boy, Robert Turner, to stop “playing on the phone.” The boy’s mother, Sherrill Turner, died before medical officials arrived at her residence.