NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- When you call 911 you hope you're talking to someone who cares about what happens to you.
But an exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation uncovered a shocking 911 emergency where the exact opposite happened.
What makes this investigation especially shocking is what one call taker said about the woman he was supposed to be helping.
NewsChannel 5's chief investigative reporter Phil Williams said 911 workers across the Midstate do a heroic job every day under incredibly stressful conditions, but the system failed when a Nashville woman faced a violent domestic situation back in February.
"I'm like looking out the window for him, and I don't see him," Sheila Jones recalled.
Her call for help began when an angry ex-boyfriend barged into her house.
Sheila's first call was recorded at Metro Nashville's 911 Center at 2:08 p.m.
Sheila to 911: "Get the police here now. My life is threatened. Please God. Please God. Please God. Get me police over now. He's got a knife on me. My life threatened."
"I felt danger, I felt threatened, and I felt fear. It was like I was seeing myself being dead that day," Sheila recalled.
"And you wanted help?" Phil asked.
"I wanted help," she answered.
For Sheila, hearing that call - obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates - resurrected the painful emotions of that day.
Sheila: "Get out of my house." 911: "Is he a boyfriend?" Sheila: "He's ex. Get out of my house. He's outside now. He just went outside."
"You're emotional, you're desperate and you call for help. Then what happened?" asked Phil.
"Nothing," Sheila said.
In fact, Sheila's 911 ordeal dragged on for almost three hours - through call after call.
Sheila: "They just keep on saying they en route, they en route, but they ain't came. It's been a long time. And he keeps calling me, threatening me." 911: "Alright, I see where you've called, and I'm gonna update them and let them know what all you've told me. OK? Sheila: "Yes, ma'am."
"I got one call that said they were en route to you and a more important call came up so they diverted to that call," Sheila remembered.
"I'm saying a knife, my life. I'm wondering what kind of call they got. Was somebody actually dead then or something?"
So where was the officer? NewsChannel 5's investigation discovered he was out helping another officer on a traffic stop.
"That's so ugly," Sheila said bursting into tears when she heard that bit of information for the first time.
"Just sitting here, it feels like it just happened. That's how I feel right now, like it just happened just now, and to know that they put a traffic stop over that."
Two-and-half-hours into the ordeal Sheila called again. This time, she was told there was no one assigned to answer her call.
Sheila: "Nobody's coming out here?" 911: "Yes, ma'am. As soon as the sergeant gets an officer available, he's gonna send somebody out there." Sheila: "What, do y'all want him to kill me - so you can put yellow tape around me and say we got there just for the death? Is that it? I don't understand."
"It felt like I was a test subject. We're going to see how long it takes before he goes back and actually kills her - that's what I felt like," Sheila said.
The worse part was what Sheila had not heard. The worst part was what the 911 call taker said after Sheila hung up the phone.
Sheila: "I'm scared to even leave out my f***ing house." 911: "OK, ma'am, I updated the call. We'll get somebody there as soon as possible." Sheila: [Hangs up.] 911: "I really just don't give a s**t what happens to you."
"What kind of people have they got answering these phones?" Sheila asked. "He actually said that?"
"He actually said that," Phil assured her.
"You know, right now I'm scared as hell because if anything happened to me now, I can't even depend upon them. Who do I... who do I... what do I do?"
In the end Sheila called the mayor's office, and it was only then that police answered her call for help.
Police and 911 officials said it was one error on top of another, but the first 911 operator did stay on the phone with Sheila for more than 15 minutes. She even called back to check on her.
As for the operator who made the shocking comment, Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas said, "The employee is no longer with us."
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