A 911 operator who read to a drowning person because she accidentally drove in flood water and told her that she had to remain silent & # 39; minutes before she died, her supervisors were once praised as a model employee.
Danny Baker, police officer from Fort Smith, announced on Thursday that Donna Reneau was working on her last shift on August 24, when she received an insane phone call from Debra Stevens, 47, two weeks earlier after announcing it two weeks earlier.
Stevens had delivered newspapers in the early hours of Fort Smith, Arkansas, when she accidentally drove into rising flood waters that wiped her SUV off the road.
In a desperate panic, Stevens turned 911 as her car slowly began to hide under the approaching tide, but instead of hearing an empathetic and calming voice across the line, she was told by Reneau: & # 39; Mrs. Debbie, you'll need to shut up & # 39; and & # 39; this will teach you not to ride in the water next time. & # 39;
Reneau's actions are now being investigated by the Fort Smith PD. However, it was once invoiced by superiors as a & # 39; dedicated operator & # 39; which & # 39; always does an excellent job & # 39 ;, as part of a glowing Facebook post during the National Telecommunicator & # 39; s Week in April 2018.
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Fort Smith Police Chief Danny Baker revealed Thursday that Donna Reneau was working her last shift on August 24 when she received a frantic phone call from Debra Stevens, 47, who had given two weeks earlier in her notification
Donna Reneau (right), who had resigned and her last shift worked as coordinator of the Fort Smith Police Department, was the person to answer Stevens' call (left) at 4.38 am
Reneau, who worked at the Fort Smith PD for almost six years, was billed by superiors as a & # 39; dedicated operator & # 39; which & # 39; always does an excellent job & # 39 ;, as part of a glowing Facebook post during the National Telecommunicator & # 39; s Week in April 2018.
POLITICAL TIMETABLE FOR EVENTS IN THE DRYING OF DEBRA STEVENS
04:38: 911 call received. Dispatcher starts collecting information. Every police officer on duty is busy with other calls.
04:40: Call entered in the system.
04:41: Fire brigade is sent on site.
4:45 am: Police unit is sent to the scene after erasing the previous call.
4:50 am: Police / fire arrive on the spot.
04:54: Police / fire brigade report difficult location of vehicle.
04:58: Responders on scene advise all others to take alternative routes to the scene because main roads are blocked by water.
04:59: Answers ask boat.
5:00 AM: Call 911 is interrupted between caller and sending.
05:02: Responders report that they have located the vehicle.
05:04: Dispatcher advised that responders cannot reach the car due to fast running water. Responders try to get into the vehicle and put on life jackets and ropes.
05:16: Lifeboat arrives and is launched.
05:58: Rescuers go to the vehicle and remove the body from Stevens.
"Donna Reneau started her career at the Fort Smith police communication center in October 2013. Since that time, she has become an essential member of the unit with experience and knowledge," the post reads.
It further reveals that Reneau became a certified communications trainer early in 2018 and was responsible for training new employees in the department.
"Donna is one of the dedicated operators that you would hear on the other end of the phone if you had a problem in the middle of the night … Donna is a professional and dedicated operator who always does an excellent job. Thank you for your dedicated service Donna! "
Quoted as part of the job, Reneau brags about how much she appreciates the work she does and cares about those in need who ask for help.
"I have been working at the FSPD for almost 5 years now and I really care about my work and the people I talk to every day," says Reneau. "If you know you've helped someone who needed it, you get a great feeling. This job brings stress and can sometimes be very busy, but working with the people I do makes it worthwhile. "
Audio from the 911 call documenting the 22-minute exchange between Reneau and Stevens was released on Thursday, confronting the coordinator and police with intense criticism of how Steven's fearful pleas were responded to in her final moments.
Stevens repeatedly told the dispatcher that she would die because the water came up her chest and had swallowed the inside of her SUV.
She begged the dispatcher for help and said she was scared.
Bodycam video released by Fort Smith police shows first responders looking for Stevens' car when she called 911 to say she was trapped in flood water
Stevens repeatedly told the dispatcher that she would die because the water came up her chest and had swallowed the inside of her SUV
Reneau could be heard against Stevens to stop crying and calm down.
& # 39; You are not going to die. I don't know why you're going crazy. I know the water level is high … but you're crazy, doing nothing but losing your oxygen, so calm, & said Reneau in the audio.
Stevens repeatedly apologized to the coordinator and said she didn't even see the water before she drove in and that she had never done anything like that.
& # 39; This will teach you not to ride in the water next time … I don't know how you didn't see it, you had to go straight over it. The water just didn't appear, & Reneau said.
& # 39; You are not the only one stuck in the water. So calm. & # 39;
As Stevens became more and more hectic, she kept asking how long it would take for the first responders to come to her because nobody helped her.
& # 39; Am I not on the phone helping you? & # 39; Reneau answered.
At one point, Stevens even apologized for being & rude & # 39; against the coordinator for her constant pleas for help.
When Stevens said she had to throw up, Reneau hit back and said, "Well you're in water, you can throw up that it doesn't matter."
Stevens eventually asked the coordinator to pray with her while she waited for the first responders to arrive and Reneau replied: & # 39; Go ahead and start the prayer. & # 39;
She told the coordinator that she could see a few people watching on their balcony and noted that she was & # 39; pretty rude & # 39; thought they didn't help her.
Reneau replied: & # 39; Many people have called you, so don't think that people are just sitting there. They are not going to put themselves at risk just because you put yourself at risk. & # 39;
At the last moments of the phone call, Stevens began to shout uncontrollably that her car was moving, that she could no longer breathe and that the water was sucking her down.
Reneau, who had been a dispatcher in the department for five years, was told to repeatedly stop and calm Stevens during the phone call
Police said the 911 operator had sent Fort Smith Fire and Police units to help Stevens, but it made it difficult because she could not describe her exact location. Above is a dashcam video of authorities looking for her car
Reneau was heard by the first responders who were looking for her: & I am now calling her and she is legitimately crazy. She says the vehicle is now in the water. & # 39;
After it started to sound like Stevens was talking underwater, Reneau said: & # 39; Miss Debbie? Miss Debbie before she said & oh my god. Did they find her? She is now under water. & # 39;
When the authorities finally found Stevens' car, they pulled her body out of the vehicle and tried to perform CPR.
She was already drowned.
Police chief Danny Baker said he was the & # 39; disgust and concern & # 39; who could fully understand the interaction between the coordinator and Stevens.
& # 39; It's tragic, I understand that. Are there perhaps things we should look at in our response? Absolutely, & he said.
He suggested that Reneau might have underestimated the urgency of the call.
Baker said that 911 at the time was flooded with phone calls from people who were also stranded in flood waters.
There were then nine officers and four 911 dispatchers employed.
& # 39; Probably it would have had a different coordinator at that time, but remember that at 4.30 am & # 39; "Talk in the morning, so getting people there to help with the shipment would have been difficult," Baker said.
& # 39; I believe that everything has been done that, given the circumstances at the time, it was human to save Mrs. Stevens' life. I'm terribly sorry it wasn't possible. & # 39;
It is not clear whether Stevens' 911 call was the last one to take it.
She was previously praised on the Facebook Facebook page of the police for being a & # 39; professional, dedicated and excellent & # 39; dispatcher.
Baker acknowledged that Reneau would have taken disciplinary action if she was still working with the department, but said he could see nothing that would have led to termination or a criminal investigation.
He said the police would investigate their policies for responses and their dispatch center after Stevens' death.
The police acknowledged that the call from 911 & # 39; sometimes insensitive and unwilling & # 39; sounded, but insisted that & # 39; sincere efforts & # 39; were made to try and find Stevens.
They said the 911 operator had sent Fort Smith Fire and Police units to help her, but it made it difficult because she could not describe her exact location.
Authorities said that when they finally found her, rising water made an immediate rescue impossible.
An officer had put on a life jacket and was ready to enter the water with a rope tied to him because the speed and amount of water was too high.
"They had an incredible amount of trouble getting to the car because of the floods. They just couldn't reach her on time, & Mitchell said.
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