HOUSTON (KPRC) — A former Houston 911 operator accused of hanging up on nearly 900 callers appeared in court for the first time Monday.
Crenshanda Williams, 43, was charged with two counts of interfering with an emergency telephone. KPRC reports the two charges stem from one call reporting an armed robbery at a convenience store, in which the owner died, and another call about street racing.
An audit of the Houston Emergency Center found Williams purposely hung up on hundreds of callers from October 2015 to March 2016.
“We looked at phone calls where she had hung up within 20 seconds, and that somebody had called back within five minutes, and that also they had called the 911 line versus the nonemergency line, and we had a reason to believe someone was actually reporting an emergency, and there were approximately 825 calls,” said Claire Morneau with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors said Williams admitted to investigators that she often hung up on callers if she didn’t feel like talking to them.
In the call regarding the street racing, the Houston Chronicle reports a security officer called in to report two drivers racing in an area where people had been killed speeding just weeks earlier. As he started to report the problem, Williams cut him off. “Ain’t nobody got time for this. For real,” she muttered, just after hanging up.
Williams was fired in August. If convicted, she faces up to two years in jail. Prosecutors say more charges could be filed as more victims come forward.
In Travis County, officials say there are safeguards in place so something like this couldn’t happen here. Austin police track the length of individual calls, according to a department spokesperson. Someone who is hanging up on people regularly should start to show a lower call time than data for an operator typically shows. Supervisors can also live monitor calls and they randomly review call takers. Finally, APD will investigate citizen complaints of unauthorized hangups.