Sparks fly over 911 call (Recording)Published 10:17pm Thursday, October 4, 2012
Beaufort County Sheriff Alan Jordan has accused a Beaufort County Commissioner of “bullying” one of his employees.
The incident happened Monday afternoon when Commissioner Hood Richardson made an emergency 911 call. At 3:12 p.m., Richardson reported seeing a woman standing in the middle of John Small Avenue.
In a recording of the 911 call, Richardson can be heard telling the dispatch operator, “You’ve got a 300-pound black woman walking down the middle of the street in front of Frank’s Pizza with a blind stare.”
Richardson said he got irritated over the course of the disjointed conversation and asked if the operator could deliver the message.
The operator and Richardson can be heard attempting to speak almost simultaneously.
Richardson then identified himself and said he was a county commissioner.
“You’ll hear about this tonight if you don’t get off your butt and do your job,” Richardson told the dispatcher.
The incident happened in the jurisdiction of the Washington Police Department.
When Richardson refused to be transferred to the city’s dispatch, the operator forwarded his message to them, according to dispatch records.
Jordan said police officers responded to Richardson’s call but could not locate the woman he described.
Richardson hasn’t heard the 911 recording. He says he doesn’t want to hear it.
“This woman over in 911 tried to give me a hard time. She was not doing her job,” Richardson said Thursday afternoon. “I know what I said to the woman because I got irritated with her. She was clicking the phone … but the line cleared up after I got after her.”
After listening to the recording, Jordan said his employee did the best she could under the circumstances and handled the call as she was trained.
Jordan disagreed with Richardson’s assertion that the operator was “clicking” or trying to interfere with the reception of the call then stopped after he chastised her.
“His assertion … is both untrue and ridiculous,” Jordan said. “In listening to the recording it is clear that Commissioner Richardson’s cellular phone transmission is poor.
“Commissioner Richardson’s behavior was unacceptable. He threatened and attempted to bully an emergency dispatcher who was simply doing her job according to established procedures,” Jordan continued. “As a County Commissioner, he has absolutely no authority over Sheriff’s Office employees and should never engage in threatening them.”
He called for an apology.
“And perhaps he should educate himself about the system and procedures that the Board of Commissioners advocated and asked the Sheriff to implement,” Jordan said.
Richardson also said some training was in order. He said his publication had been denied 911 recordings he had requested and he would be calling for all county employees to undergo training regarding public information.
Once trained, Richardson said he would “put the heat on them” when public information policies were not followed.