911 operator sentenced to prison

Crenshanda Williams was convicted of interference with emergency telephone calls and received a sentence of ten days behind bars and 18 months probation.

Williams

A former 911 operator at the Houston Emergency Center was sentenced to jailfor hanging up on thousands of callers during her year and a half tenure.

Authorities noticed that Williams had a history of short calls that lasted for less than twenty seconds. An investigation revealed that she had “systematically” hung-up on thousands of people. In one instance, she told a caller:  “Ain’t nobody got time for this. For real,” when he called to report two people speeding on a dangerous stretch of Highway 45. He thought his call got dropped, but later found out she hung up on him. She was also accused of hanging on people who reported robberies and homicides.

“The citizens of Harris County rely on 911 operators to dispatch help in their time of need,” Assistant District Attorney Lauren Reeder said in a statement. “When a public servant betrays the community’s trust and breaks the law, we have a responsibility to hold them criminally accountable.”

Williams’ lawyer blamed the “state-of-the-art” system for the dropped calls. He said that she did not hang up on the callers, explaining that the system “drops calls instead of rerouting them if dispatchers are not ready to take them.”

The 911 call center was opened in 2003 and receives around 9,000 calls each day from the Houston area. According to the Houston Chronicle, approximately 3,000 of those calls are “true emergencies.”

“She was going through a hard time in her life, and she was a poor performing worker at the Houston Emergency Center,” he said. “But punishing her doesn’t do anything to fix the problems that still exist at the emergency center.”

He said he expects her conviction to be overturned on appeal.

Photo: Houston Police Department

 

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