Who is Precious Stephens? New Orleans 911 dispatcher deliberately hung up on callers
Precious Stephens, 25, from New Orleans is wanted on one count of malfeasance in office and was still at large at the time of writing
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA: Authorities revealed how a 911 dispatcher is facing arrest after she disconnected emergency calls without obtaining critical information or relaying them to other dispatchers.
Precious Stephens, 25, is wanted on one count of malfeasance in office and was still at large at the time of writing. Police said she has been fired from her job as a 911 operator. Stephens — who worked for the Orleans Parish Communication District — deliberately disconnected 911 calls without obtaining vital information or informing other operators about the callers who needed help, the district told police on August 24.
Officials noted that the district was conducting a probe into a random set of calls when they detected problems with those attended by Stephens during her shifts on August 20 and 21. The issues with Stephens' calls were identified by the district's own internal protocols before they were turned over to the police and she was dismissed from her position. “(The district) has and will continue to cooperate with the … investigation into this matter and is dedicated to providing any and all assistance to aid in (the) efforts,” a statement from the communications district read.
Stephens was still at large Friday morning on September 3. Anyone who knows her whereabouts is urged to call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111. Tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward, per NOLA.com. Under Louisiana state law, malfeasance in office is defined as unlawfully performing a job in public service. The charge carries with it up to five years in prison.
MEAWW previously reported how a 911 dispatcher refused to send help after a mother accidentally locked her two-month-old daughter in a hot car. Lacey Guyton had been visiting her grandmother Mary Riley in Waterford with her daughter Raina. When it was time to leave, she strapped her daughter in her car seat and was about to get into the vehicle when the doors accidentally shut with the keys inside leaving the child in a precarious predicament.
The 911 dispatcher who answered their call said they "don't unlock vehicles, unfortunately" and offered to transfer them to a tow company instead. "She says, 'Ma'am, we can't unlock cars or break windows,'" Riley said. "And then you feel so helpless. All the help we think we're going to get — the only help we're going to get — we don't have it."
"She said we have to call a tow company," Guyton recalled. "I'm like, grandma, we don't have time to call a tow company. I don't know how many minutes I have until she passes out." Desperate, she tried calling 911 again but ended up reaching the same dispatcher who once again refused to dispatch help. Finally, Guyton used a tool to break the back window and rescue her daughter.
The news of the incident soon reached Police Chief Scott Underwood, who apologized for the ordeal the family had to go through. "It's a common-sense issue," he said. "You call 911, you expect somebody to come and give you some help. And we certainly should have gone and done that. We made a mistake and we need to fix that." Underwood said that the dispatcher who answered the call was a veteran at the job and that she should have known better. He added that she would face disciplinary action and that others would be given more training on how to handle these situations better in the future.