FSPD: internal review completed in the death of Debra Stevens


FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFTA) — The Fort Smith Police Department has completed its internal review into the death of the woman, Debra Stevens, who died during flash flooding over the summer.

The FSPD report states, “no evidence of criminal negligence or activities on former Operator Reneau’s part. In fact, the evidence shows that while Operator Reneau spoke rudely to Mrs. Stevens during the call, she actually bumped the call up in the order of importance shortly after receiving it.”

Debra Stevens was at her job, delivering newspapers in Fort Smith, early on August 24, 2019. Her SUV was swept into rising flood-waters around 4:30 a.m. and she placed a 911 call to a dispatcher that lasted for 22-minutes pleading for help.

The 47-year-old woman died as a result of the flooding and her body was found nearly an hour later by rescue crews.

Information that was previously released regarding the drowning included the 911 call, body-worn cameras, incident reports. Here is the new information from FSPD:

  • Executive summaries of the overall findings and recommendations for policy reviews, review of hiring practices, review of training practices, review of supervision and staffing, and a software review
  • Radio traffic from the date and time
  • Footage of former FSPD Operator Donna Reneau as she handled Mrs. Stevens’ call and her previously unreleased reaction to the death of Mrs. Stevens
  • Photographs of the drowning scene excluding pictures of Mrs. Stevens’ body out of respect for the family
  • Witness cellphone videos
  • The NICE Inform Access log of parties that reviewed the call
  • Internal emails discussing the incident
  • Complete summary and transcript of the 911 Call

Click on the photo below to read the report.

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