Columbia Police Investigators have arrested the female accused of making several fake 9-1-1 calls to dispatch centers in Richland and Lexington Counties.
Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook and Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon announced Thursday that 32-year-old Jheri Leil Polite is charged with 31 Counts of Unlawful Use of 9-1-1.
“False alarms not only put our officers at risk in their efforts to respond to emergency calls, they put the public at risk as well. The calls also prevent officers from being available for real emergencies,” said Holbrook said,
Wednesday night, CPD Investigators found Polite at her residence at 4501 Bentley Drive, the same place the CPD calls originated. Lexington County investigators have tracked 14 fake 9-1-1 calls to a St. Andrews business where Polite was employed.
“We’re glad an arrest has been made in this case,” Lexington County Sheriff Koon says. “More than 70 calls for service had been made to Lexington County’s communications center since March 25. We’re fortunate they all turned out to be false alarms, but we still tied up resources responding to the calls.
During a lengthy interview yesterday, CPD investigators determined that Polite made the calls during various times of the day; some early in the morning, during the day or late at night.
Each time, officers and deputies responded to investigate the calls for service ranging from home burglaries, threats of suicide, a bomb threat, shootings and homicides.
Polite was found to be in possession of the cell phone that she allegedly used to make the phony emergency calls – a Blackberry uninitiated (non-active) phone which means that it doesn’t have a service provider. The phone only has 9-1-1 capabilities.
During the on-going investigation, it has been determined that Polite was arrested in Dekalb County, Georgia for similar crimes dating back to 2004.
Polite is currently housed at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center (ASGDC).
All persons arrested/charged are presumed innocent until or unless proven guilty in a court of law.