April 18 (UPI) — A former Houston 911 operator was sentenced to 18 months probation for systematically hanging up on hundreds of emergency callers.
A Harris County, Texas jury found Crenshanda Williams, 44, guilty of interference with emergency telephone calls on Wednesday. Williams will also serve 10 days in jail.
“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 was charged in October 2016 after authorities found she prematurely disconnected on 825 calls between October 2015 and March 2016.
One of those calls was from a witness trying to report a violent robbery in progress. Another was from a security guard reporting a potentially dangerous street race where a fatal accident occurred weeks earlier.
“Ain’t nobody got time for this,” Williams is heard saying in the 911 recording, just after disconnecting the call. “For Real.”
Williams’ attorney, Franklin Bynum, said there were “systemic” problems at the Houston Emergency Center that caused calls to be dropped instead of rerouting if 911 operators cannot take them, the Houston Chronicle reported. He also said the HEC had poor training policies that contributed to Williams’ mistakes.
“She was going through a hard time in her life, and she was a poor performing worker at the Houston Emergency Center,” Bynum said. “But punishing her doesn’t do anything to fix the problems that still exist at the emergency center.”