As part of a joint investigation of the Columbia Police Department and the Lexington County Sheriff's Department, Columbia investigators have arrested the female accused of making several fake 911 calls to dispatch centers in Richland and Lexington counties.
Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook and Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon announced 32-year-old Jheri Leil Polite is charged with 31 counts of Unlawful use of 911. 12 Counts stem from charges from CPD; 19 counts from LCSD.
“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,” Holbrook said. “The calls also prevent officers from being available for real emergencies.”
Wednesday night, CPD investigators found Polite at her residence on Bentley Drive, the same place where 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,” Koon said. “More than 70 false calls for service had been made to Lexington County’s communications center since March 25. We’re fortunate they turned out to be false alarms, but we still tied up resources responding to the calls."
During a lengthy interview Wednesday, CPD investigators determined 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 cellphone she allegedly used to make the phony emergency calls – a BlackBerry uninitiated (nonactive) phone which means that it doesn’t have a service provider. The phone only has 911 capabilities.
As part of the ongoing investigation, investigators determined Polite was arrested in Dekalb County, Georgia. for similar crimes dating back to 2004.
Polite is being housed at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.