Police are searching for a New Orleans 911 operator accused of hanging up on citizens calling for help, a New Orleans Police Department spokesperson said Thursday.
“Officers are looking for Precious Stephens, a 25-year-old woman who faces charges of malfeasance in office and interfering with an emergency communication for an August 23 incident,” WWLTV reported.
Stephens allegedly disconnected 911 calls but did not get emergency information or transfer the call to a fellow dispatcher and hung up on those calling for assistance.
The New Orleans Police Department shared a photo on Facebook of Stephens, writing, “Third District detectives have obtained an arrest warrant for Precious Stephens (pictured) on charges of malfeasance in office and interfering with an emergency communication.”
The department asked citizens to call 504-658-6030 or Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans at 504-822-1111 if they had information regarding the young woman’s whereabouts.
According to Nola.com, Stephens was fired from her job as a 911 operator. She previously worked for the Orleans Parish Communication District:
The district conducted an investigation into the quality of a random set of calls when they detected the problems with Stephens during her shifts Aug. 20 and Aug. 21, officials said. A statement from the district highlighted how its own internal protocols identified the issues with Stephens, who was immediately turned over to police and dismissed from her post.
The state of Louisiana defined malfeasance in office as unlawfully performing one’s job in public service and it could carry up to five years behind bars, the Nola.com article read.
According to the Orleans Parish Communication District’s (OPCD) website, the agency is “the administrative office of 9-1-1 for the City of New Orleans.”
“OPCD purchases and maintains equipment and provides training for new and experienced police, fire and emergency medical personnel,” the site read.