When Seconds Count…Your 911 Operator May Hang Up On You

Crenshanda Williams

courtesy Houston Police Department

“An unconscious woman, a robbery in progress, cars racing on the interstate: All of these incidents led people to call Houston’s 911 system — but not for long. These were among thousands of calls that were cut short by an operator who Harris County prosecutors said simply hung up on the callers.” Police response time is a factor no matter how efficient the operation. Cops simply can’t be everywhere they’re needed, hence gun owners who point out that when seconds count, police are only minutes away.

Unless you’re a Houston resident and were unfortunate enough to draw Crenshanda Williams when you dialed 911, in which case it could be much longer.

“Ain’t nobody got time for this. For real,” Williams was recorded saying after ending a call in which a security guard had tried to report two cars driving at high speeds on Interstate 45 South, according to a 2016 report from local KPRC TV.

Williams worked at the Houston Emergency Center for about a year and a half before she was fired in 2016. Her supervisors had realized Williams was responsible for cutting off emergency calls after just a few seconds, often forcing callers to try again — and to wonder why they couldn’t get help.

When confronted by her superiors with evidence that she was dumping emergency calls, Williams said she really didn’t feel like talking to anyone at the moment.

Her attorney recently said, “She was going through a hard time in her life,” according to the Houston Chronicle.

She was eventually charged with two counts of interfering with an emergency call. Yes, only two counts. This was one of them.

The criminal complaint says the March 12, 2016 call referenced a shooting/robbery homicide. “The first call came in… and was an immediate hang up by the defendant,” says the complaint. The second call placed by the same number (Li) came in. The defendant said “Houston 9-1-1 do you need medical, police or fire?” The caller said, “This is a robbery,” the complaint alleges.

Police could “then hear the defendant sigh before the call is terminated by the defendant,” the complaint says. A third 911 call was taken by another call taker. In the third call, the caller, Li, was “able to report that a man fired multiple (sic) during a robbery and people may be hurt,” says the complaint.

The store owner, Zia Arfeen Seddiqui, 51, left behind four children and had a grandchild on the way, says ABC 13.

Williams’ misconduct is obviously an aberration. Most 911 operators dispatch police, fire or EMS as quickly as humanly possible. Of course, that’s still usually at least five minutes or more. Frequently longer depending on call volume and where you happen to be when your emergency presents itself.

All of which just illustrates the point; carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.

 

comments

  1. avatar GunGal says:

    Don’t think she will be getting any Unemployment Benefits.

    1. avatar Carter Burger says:

      Wanna bet? She’s a black woman. She’s gonna get whatever she wants. Even it being her fault to start with.

  2. avatar RA-15 says:

    I’ve heard many things in my life. A 911 operator saying ” ain’t ” is a first. I hope she is in need of help someday and the operator answers and says ” I ain’t got no time for you” click , end of conversation. Also , yes carry if you can , because the police can’t get to you , assess the problem and act. As fast as you can pull the trigger.

    1. avatar Mercury says:

      It’s Houston. The word “ain’t” is often dropped at multimillion-dollar business deals. I think you’d be harder pressed to find a 911 operator who doesn’t use the term, really.

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        + Ain’t = a proper contraction.

        People are faulted a lot, down south, for using it, but down here people are also very particular about what they say with their words. “You all” is also not incorrect, and so Y’all is not necessarily incorrect either.

        People say stick-pen or writing pen instead of “pen” because it could mean a horse or pig pen.

        “Well, I reckon” is also a good conversation ender.

        FURTHER, my sheriff’s 40 minutes away at 95+mph (in the straightaways), minimum. They get there when they can [and we greatly appreciate them for it]. But calling them in the middle of something is suicide.

        1. avatar barnbwt says:

          Where down South do they confuse a writing instrument with a property improvement? What kind of context could possibly precede that conundrum? That sounds like something a Yankee puttin’ on airs would claim about Southerners (or conversely, that Southerners would claim to mislead a Yankee for amusement). Also, a stick-pin is a jewelry item, never heard of the term used for a writing instrument.

          “It’s good, but is it going to get them off their tractors?” –Producer-bot #2, programmed to under-estimate middle America

        2. avatar Matty 9 says:

          Don’t forget “prechiatcha”. That’s my favorite.

        3. avatar Button Gwinnett says:

          I’ve heard “writin pen” in Western Colorado as well, and “ain’t” is appropriate as well. It ain’t being Southern is why you talk like that, it’s a legitimate English dialect.

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      Really? Once I called 911 (actually intending to call 611) and got this operator whose “accent” was so think I had no idea what she was saying. I had to ask her to repeat herself twice. By the way, this was in San Francisco.

      Y’all is perfectly proper in Noo Awlins, as is where y’at?

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        . . . and, sometimes you get a little . . . “wute u like dat on wyte or weet bon?”

  3. avatar LarryinTX says:

    I have called 911 a few times (EMS) due to home accidents/medical incidents. I was extremely pleased that response was right around 5 minutes, and police were present simultaneously (and I was not offended to discover they were investigating *me*). My biggest problem with the concept of 5 minute response times for LE is that I can’t see when I’m going to be able to call 911, I won’t even start looking for my phone until I am armed and the lights are all on (if nighttime). Depending on the situation, I may also need to descend 2 flights of stairs, since my son is downstairs. Calling 911 is far down my list of priorities.

    And I have heard of MANY locations where expected response time, LE or EMS either one, was beyond a half-hour.

    1. avatar binder says:

      Honestly you need to get your priorities strait. If you are in a rush, call 911 and leave the phone off the hook. That way if you are injured fighting off your invaders the cops will show up sooner or later. You can always call them back and let them know everything is OK. They will still likely come out and check, but you will probably be down on the list.

      1. avatar Red in CO says:

        Unless you live next door to a police station, calling 911 means that they won’t arrive until after anything that’s going to happen has already happened. If you think calling 911 is the priority, either you’re insane or (more likely) you think it’s uktimately someone else’s job to protect you and yours

  4. avatar Ralph says:

    This is what happens when the inmates run the asylum.

    1. avatar callmecarla says:

      They self-identify as “victims” or “patrons” of the establishments nowadays. Please try to keep up. : )

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        In some prisons, the staff is instructed to refer to the inmates as “Clients”.

        I shit you not…

        1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

          Internal Customers.

  5. avatar Connie says:

    Yeah, your 911 Operator may hang up on you, but your 1911 Operator won’t.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      +

      boom

    2. avatar Paul Mcmichael says:

      That is so well said I don’t even know how to respond. Carried a 1911 on duty my entire career. Several actually. (Always some improvement on the old workhorse.)

    3. avatar ACP_arms says:

      BOOM! — Hammer drop.

    4. avatar barnbwt says:

      Nice.

  6. avatar TommyJay says:

    “… because a cop is too heavy.” Good one. Never heard it before.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      “…because the 911 operator could be a total bitch” –not quite as catchy, somehow

  7. avatar Shire-man says:

    How does somebody like that get through the interview and training process?

    “Ain’t nobody got time for this. For real,”

    That’s something a blaxploitaion parody character says not a real living human being.

    1. avatar LarryO says:

      Hang out with more black people. Rest assured, those phrases can and do come up.

      1. avatar Paul Mcmichael says:

        I live, and worked, in the only minority dominated county in Florida. Look it up. It’s not hard to find. I heard language like that every day. Still do. I hear others (usually from the North ask clerks at convenience stores to repeat themselves 2-3 times. When I’m in a hurry, I’ll sometimes step in and translate. No offense to anyone. It’s just the dialect.

  8. avatar Cruzo1981 says:

    There is a problem here in Houston. The mayor has implemented a program that seeks to correct behavior of its city employees. Instead of getting fired, the employees get warned. There have been pictures of employees sleeping in city vehicles more than once(same guy) and he was never fired. Another employee used the city fire hydrant to fill his pool and said he didn’t know he couldn’t do that. Of course all the employees were the same, uneducated morons that end up on the news weekly and never get fired due to the correcting behavior response we now have, instead of just firing workers. Get this. They still get paid while they are not working and getting help to learn how to respond to adversity and you know, show up to work, which was another issue. Morons not going to work and still getting paid, then time off, of course paid to correct the behavior as if they were kids. FML. I’m going to apply soon…

    1. avatar JR Pollock says:

      I’ll bet they call their program “Houston Promise”.

      1. avatar Huntmaster says:

        Sounds like their employee disciplinary policy is based on the Parklnd FL Board of Education student discipline policy manual.

    2. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      Affirmative action has now entered into employee disciplinary actions because too many minority group people were getting fired for doing stupid and incompetent stuff—a sure-fire indication of institutionalized racism. We should all be ashamed for how these unfortunate people have suffered their entire lives. If they like to sleep on the job or not even show up very often, we should try to understand they they are just making a symbolic protest in observance of their historic oppression.

  9. avatar Hannibal says:

    Kinda amazing that someone like that didn’t get weeded out earlier. Did none of these people call back or did most of them die after getting hung up on?

    ““Ain’t nobody got time for this. For real,” Williams was recorded saying after ending a call in which a security guard had tried to report two cars driving at high speeds”

    If it weren’t for all the others I might give her a pass on this one. I would roll my eyes if a security guard called up and said ““This is Officer Moten. I’m driving on 45 South right now and right now I am…” because he probably calls about people “speeding” every day.

  10. avatar Warlocc says:

    She allowed a man to die due to not doing her job- Isn’t that negligent homicide?

    10 days in prison. 10 days!

  11. avatar Bierce Ambrose says:

    It’s almost as if she thought her job was something other than getting help to the people who called that emergency line.

    Apparently, at least some of her management had the same idea.

  12. avatar Chris Morton says:

    Recall the Detroit 911 operator who having received a call from a woman who reported being shot by her husband… demanded that she put the husband… the man who had just SHOT her, on the line.

    I once called 911 to report a man unconscious and unresponsive in the gutter in front of a Lakewood, Ohio bar. The Kelly Bundy clone who took the call (after I had already talked to another 911 operator who transferred me) asked, “He’s in the gutter? He’s on the roof?”

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      when i asked “what is the ‘soup du jour’?” she replied, “that’s the soup of the day, sir.”

      i ordered the waldorf.

  13. avatar James A. "Jim" Farmer says:

    For readers here who aren’t aware I endorse the 1999 book: “Dial 911 and Die: The
    Shocking Truth About The Police Protection Myth” by Richards Stevens. Available
    from JPFO, Inc. at http://www.jpfo.org. JPFO, Inc. is “America’s Aggressive Civil Rights
    Organization.” There is even an online You Tube video with same title for viewers.
    The John Birch Society in Appleton, Wisconsin at http://www.jbs.org and http://www.thenew
    american.com respectively, has their “Support Your Local Police Campaign.” Both
    JPFO, Inc. and the JBS are non-NRA affiliated.

    James A. “Jim” Farmer
    Merrill, Oregon (Klamath County)

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      Cops have no legal obligation to protect you. Really, this dispatcher did nothing wrong in the eyes of the Deep State and the highest courts.
      She was eventually charged with two counts of interfering with an emergency call. Yes, only two counts.
      Based on legal precedents, it would not surprise me if she beats the system.
      Warren v. District of Columbia[1] (444 A.2d. 1, D.C. Ct. of Ap. 1981) is an oft-quoted[2] District of Columbia Court of Appeals case that held that the police do not owe a specific duty to provide police services to citizens based on the public duty doctrine.
      The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the police did not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm,

      1. avatar Chris Morton says:

        “But they HAVE to protect you, it says ‘To Serve and Protect’ on the doors of the police cars!” – Something an imbecile once said to me.

  14. avatar Paul Mcmichael says:

    I started out in communications. It is a highly stressful and thankless job. Without any of the “glamour” of the patrol division, or C.I.D.
    If this woman did what is alleged, she should be skinned and flayed. Lives were at stake. As to how she got the job? People slip through the cracks in any profession. More to the point is: How did she keep the job? When I hit patrol I heard deputies, that had never sat in dispatch, complain about commo officers. I would ask, “You think it’s so easy? Go getcha’ some!” A few of them had to when on light duty due to injuries. They usually came away with a different attitude. In fact, the usual refrain was, “Man, fuck that shit!” If you ever meet a dispatcher; thank them. It may that person that answers the phone when you, you’re spouse, child, parent or neighbor/friend needs emergency assistance.

    P.S. As to ain’t, y’all, etc. To paraphrase Hank Williams, Jr. a fellow firearms aficionado. “We say grace and we say ma’am, y’all and ain’t too, and if you don’t like that we don’t give a damn!”
    P.S.S. Here’s a little southern joke. You know the difference between a Yankee and a damn Yankee? A Yankee goes home after his vacation. A damn Yankee moves in. Told to me by my best friend that moved here from Indiana. Started with the Manatee Co. S.O. in the ’70s. Retired from the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement. He’s been here so long, and shares so many of our values, we just went ahead and grandfathered him in.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      ‘Without any of the “glamour” of the patrol division…’

      I know there’s quotation marks around that but I still did a double-take.

    2. avatar Andrew says:

      The local ‘Comm Center’ was so rife with corruption and incompetence that the local anti-drug unit had to get its own radios, set up its own records system in order to protect the cases that were being worked.

      Why?

      Because the Comm Center employees would call their families and friends who were the ones the cops were getting ready to arrest and tell them to run.

      Oh, that’s right, the commcent employees didn’t have to meet the same level of background check or scrutiny that even the janitorial staff had to meet.

  15. avatar DD says:

    That is one HAPPY looking woman.

  16. avatar SkyMan77 says:

    WOW….If there was ever a poster child for Abject Apathy she’s it…

    Indifference is the purest form of Hate….

    1. avatar Paul Mcmichael says:

      Well said, sir. Your language is more civil than mine would have been.

  17. avatar Pg2 says:

    If this person was white or male…..hate crime.

  18. avatar Southern Cross says:

    At least you have the option of defending yourself. In my part of the world calling the 000 emergency line can take 18-20 rings to get an answer and then up to several more minutes to get an operator.

    The secondary asstance line can take a lot longer with 10-15 minutes to get an operator.

  19. avatar A O says:

    Ain’t nobody got time for dis….ain’t nobody gots a job for dis ho.

  20. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    All of which just illustrates the point; carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.
    No, you carry a gun because cops have no legal obligation to protect you. Cops are to enforce nefarious laws of the Deep State run by the Bilderbergs, Illuminati, CFR, George Soros, and a cast of Global Elites. Silly serfs.

    1. avatar ironicatbest says:

      Shhh, you said Illuminati. We are not supposed to talk about that.

    2. avatar Mercury says:

      I dunno about the Illuminati one way or the other, but you left out the real puppeteers who run all the banks that have taken over nearly every country in the world. They consist of the nine richest people in the world: the Rothschild family.

      Honestly, all the “there’s a vast Jewish conspiracy to control the world through banks” types need to learn some history. There is, in fact, a bankers’ conspiracy to consolidate all power through financial domination, but it’s not vast in terms of the number of conspirators and it’s not Jewish per se. It just happens that the old European royal family doing the conspiring are a Jewish family.

      But anyway, yes, it seems the police do more to enforce laws written by the power elite than to protect individuals, regardless of whether or not they’re required or even expected to do the latter. Even if you know all the cops in your area personally, you simply can’t rely on them for protection unless you know their boss, and their boss’ boss, and so on until you get to the sheriff or chief and then follow their campaign money trail to determine whether they’re actually working for you, or are just more bankers’ cronies.

  21. avatar Mark says:

    That operator clearly isn’t operating operationally.

  22. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    IMO, the single biggest problem with dispatchers is that they’re typically run out of the police/sheriff department.

    In many areas, most or all emergency services are dispatched by the same dispatch center. Often, dispatch favors the needs of their law enforcement management over the other first response agencies. And that can become a real problem…

    The problems in dispatch start with their hiring practices. It is a stressful job, and it requires someone who can go from bored out of their skull to on top of their game in seconds, and “on top of their game” means someone who can visualize the problems in their head, decide priorities on the fly, juggle as many as three responding agencies and the caller at once, etc.

    There are people who can do this, without much training. There are people who can do this with sufficient training. This woman was not going to be either one of them.

  23. avatar ironicatbest says:

    Williams is a realist.

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      From a certain angle, this is sad but true.

  24. avatar Carter Burger says:

    Municipalities go to great lengths to develop tests to make sure that who they hire at the other end of the radio is fit for the job. all that goes out the window when you then hire people for other reasons based on merit. I got $50 that says she was hired based on her gender and race over her ability to perform her duties.

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