HOUSTON – The fallout continued Monday after a Houston 911 operator was accused of hanging up on hundreds of people calling to report an emergency.
City officials announced that Crenshanda Williams' manager and supervisor have been put on probation for a year. The Houston Emergency Center is also changing the way it monitors call takers with a high number of short calls.
HEC Administration Manager Joe Laud said they’ve never had an incident like this before.
“We feel full confidence in our abilities and our call takers. We have the right people in those positions. They have the desire to help people,” Laud said.
Laud told KHOU 11 News call takers answer roughly 2,000 calls a month.
Current protocol requires supervisors to spot check 10-30 random calls for each call taker every month. Now, the HEC is increasing oversight on some operators.
“We are specifically targeting call takers that have what we call “short calls” that may show some significance, because we want to make all efforts to avoid this same situation,” Laud said.
Laud says no public complaints were ever filed against the former call taker.
“If any callers out there see an incident or feel their call wasn’t properly handled, report it,” Laud advised.
Prosecutor Claire Moreau says this whole thing came to light after an internal audit flagged Williams for having a large number of “short calls” – lasting 20 seconds or less.
“We were able to narrow down in all about 825 calls where somebody was actually calling 911 and not the non-emergency line. She hung up on that person and that they called back within five minutes,” Moreau said.
Since then, police have identified and interviewed two of those callers – one was reporting a deadly armed robbery and the other was reporting drag racing on the highway.
Court documents show that on one tape you can hear Williams say, “Aint' nobody got time for this. For real." Then she hangs up.
Williams faces two misdemeanor counts of interfering with a 911 phone call for the two cases identified.
KHOU Legal Analyst Gerald Treece explains the charges are relatively minor, because of how the law is written.
“She could be cited with other misdemeanors, but it’s not like other offenses where you can stack or aggravate them. The question of why it’s not a more severe serious punishment needs to be addressed by lawmakers,” said Treece.
If found guilty, Williams could spend a maximum of two years in prison.
Her next court date is Nov. 10.
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