HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- His job was to listen and send help, but dispatcher Christopher Schools was "let go" after being charged with hanging up on 911 callers.
Wednesday Schools was sentenced to 30 days in jail with all 30 suspended, and five years of probation.
In case of emergency, dispatchers are supposed to be your lifeline, but in April deputies charged the veteran lifesaver Schools with silencing that lifeline by hanging up.
"It’s not like Chris at all. I'm still in shock,” said Harolynn Quash, a former colleague.
Schools was convicted of preventing another person from summoning law enforcement, fire or rescue services.
"Chris was a very good dispatcher,” Quash said. “Like all dispatchers, we have good and bad days."
Quash used to work with Schools at Richmond's Dispatch Center. They've remained friends for 30-plus years. She says she's been on the end of several hang up calls, but adds dispatchers are trained to roll with the verbal punches.
"We are trying to get pertinent information like we are trained to, and citizens say, ‘Just send the damn police,’ and hang up,” Quash said. “We then have to call back and try and see what's going on."
Quash says she is stunned that Schools was convicted, but says she still supports him.
"He will always be my friend, and nothing will change that,” she said. “I just wish he called after the incident because I would've gone to court and served as his character witness."
On top of suspended jail time and probation, Schools had to pay a fine.
Crime Insider sources confirm he is no longer employed as a dispatcher.