June 29, 2023

Written by: Meg Gatto

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – New audio recordings FOX 8 obtained reveal the moment 911 center chief Tyrell Morris got into an accident in his city-owned vehicle. We’ve also learned from a City Hall source that the Inspector General’s office sent investigators to the 911 center Thursday, seizing cell phones and computers, as the investigation into Morris continues.

Using his dispatch radio inside his city-owned SUV, Tyrell Morris, the head of New Orleans’ 911 call center, radioed in for help after an accident around 10:40 at night on May 7th.

Morris: “Communications 1, communications 1.”

Dispatcher: “Go ahead.”

Morris: “Do you have any units available, gonna be at the Elysian Fields, 610 underpass for an accident, no injury accident.” Dispatcher: “610 & elysian fields over the overpass?”.

Morris: “The underpass.”

Dispatcher: “Negative. I don’t have any units available. Want me to put one in?”.

Morris: “If you can.”

New video obtained from a city crime camera shows what happened on Elysian Fields. You can see Morris’ SUV, it appears to collide with another vehicle, before the vehicle takes off, and Morris flips on his emergency lights.

Morris: “Gonna be two vehicles involved, a gray Chevy Impala, versus a 2022 black Expedition.”

Morris: “One of the drivers of the Impala is going to be unlicensed. LA plate 458BDI and I’m involved.”

Dispatcher: “10-4.”

According to 911 call logs, about 20 minutes later, Morris radioed in again.

Morris: “Communications 1, can you mark that call up ‘NAT’ all parties exchanged information.”

Dispatcher: “NAT’ y’all exchanged information, 10-4.”

Morris and the other driver left the scene after Morris said they exchanged information. We got a video of his city-owned vehicle outside his house days later. You can see the damage to the front of the unit.

When we asked attorneys for the Orleans Parish Communications District, for a copy of the policy for take home vehicles and accidents, we were provided two documents, both dated May of 2019. Under “accident procedures” one of the documents says, “The operator of the OPCD vehicle must take a drug and alcohol test as soon as possible.” The other copy we were provided, has four extra words added, “If injuries are reported, the operator of the OPCD vehicle must take a drug and alcohol test as soon as possible.” Attorney Ben Chapman says OPCD is investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding the existence of the two versions and the inconsistencies therein.

Questions have been raised about whether Morris altered the policy after his accident.

Rafael Goyenche, the head of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, says, “This is a public record and Louisiana law prohibits public records from being altered or falsified.”

It’s why Morris is now under investigation by the Inspector General, and the city council wants him suspended immediately.

But Mayor Cantrell says he’ll stay on the job.

“As it relates to the investigation based on allegations that have been made, we’ll let that investigation happen. We’ll comply at every turn, but I’m very clear, allegations are allegations as you move through those investigations we will deal with that accordingly,” Cantrell stated.

Morris isn’t scheduled to step down until September.