Police call handler sacked for laughing with caller
Sue Heeney said she tried to put the caller at ease
A 999 call handler has appealed against her dismissal for "laughing unprofessionally" with a caller.
Sue Heeney, 38, was sacked by Essex Police for the laughter and - the force said - grading the incident wrongly.
The call, on 9 November, was from a man reporting a relative who he thought may have been in a crash whilst drink driving. Ms Heeney said he was nervous, because of the negative repercussions for the relative.
She said she tried to put the caller at ease. According to the BBC, the man struggled to remember the phonetic alphabet for the letter "E" while telling Ms Heeney the car registration number.
When Ms Heeney, of Marks Tey, near Colchester, told him it was "echo", he laughed and she did too.
But Essex Police said her manner was negligent and unprofessional - an allegation Ms Heeney she strongly disputes. She was suspended in December and sacked in July.
The force also said she should have graded the call as a "road traffic accident - fail to stop", not "suspicious circumstances," and cited the fact that the driver later went to prison was evidence of the incident's seriousness.
But Ms Heeney said when the man called he only said there "might" have been an accident, and that he just knew the car was damaged.
She said he grading was correct, because she never knew there had been two collisions while the reported driver was behind the wheel.
Since she lost her job, she and her partner have put their home up for sale to make ends meet.
She said: "I only acted on the information he had, which was minimal.
"I'm devastated by this."
A spokeswoman for the police force said: "The failure to properly assess the gravity of this incident led to her being investigated by the force's professional standards department.
"An appeal against the dismissal has been made and it would be inappropriate to comment in detail at this time."
Marvel has released the first teaser trailer a week early after it leaked online
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 3 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Couple die within 28 hours of each other after being married for 73 years
Ottawa shooting: Canadian soldier dies after being shot at National War Memorial – with one gunman killed inside parliament
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Diwali 2014: What is the festival of lights and how is it celebrated around the world?
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
£90 - £140 per day + Mileage and Expenses: Randstad Education Leeds: Sixth for...
£95 - £105 per day: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Plymouth i...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits and bonus: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer -...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits and bonus: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer ...