Victim of accused 911 dispatcher 'upset and disappointed'

By Stacy

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- A serious injury was just one of several emergencies called in to former operator Dezerea Shelton, officials said. They said Shelton deserted around 45 callers in their time of need.

Barbara Rowland lived on her Mount Pleasant street for 36 years; it was where her grandchildren rode their bikes. And that was why she worried on June 30, when she saw a driver racing around her neighborhood. She called 911.

"I was greeted with, 'Well are you in danger now? Do you see the car?' And I said, 'No I'm not in danger and I don't see the car.' She said, 'Well there's nothing I can do for you,'" Rowland recounted of the June 2013 call.

Officials said the dispatcher was Shelton. In other calls released by Charleston County, Shelton can be heard promising to send police. But, the police were never sent, according to officials.

Sheriff's officials charged Shelton with obstruction of justice and misconduct in office. They said she mishandled around 45 calls between January and August 2013.

"These are the actions of one individual. It is not a system problem. It's not an indication of the quality of service the 911 center provides," said Jim Lake, director of the Consolidated 911 Center.

Since the incident, the center created a new protocol. Supervisors at the now must daily reviews of calls, instead of the monthly reviews they made before.

It was enough to keep Rowland's trust. She said she believed Shelton's case was an isolated incident. She still trusted dispatchers and police to keep her family safe.

Shelton was released from her job at the 911 Center Sept. 5.

A judge set her bond Tuesday at $40,000.