Child support workers are used to angry calls.
Teresa Alt, director of Huron County Job and Family Services, said her employees deal with plenty of irate people who grow upset about the terms of their custody arrangements and financial obligations to their children.
But Alt said a Lorain County caller crossed the line.
Norma Lyons, 52, of Wellington, is accused of threatening to gun down everyone working at the Huron County Child Support office, Huron County Sheriff’s Capt. Ted Patrick said.
“Miss Lyons became upset and allegedly made a statement to a Job and Family Services worker that she was going to shoot every (expletive) in the place — every last one of them,” Patrick said.
Lyons was taken into police custody and charged with intimidation involving a public servant, a third-degree felony, officials said.
She remains at the Huron County jail, awaiting a bond hearing.
At about 3 p.m. Thursday, Lyons was speaking with a child support caseworker about her husband’s case when the Wellington woman became upset and reportedly made threats.
Alt said the employee hit a button on her computer to alert her supervisor about the situation.
Supervisors contacted the sheriff’s office, who dispatched deputies to the agency and called Norwalk police officers for backup.
Deputies interviewed the employees, identified the caller and notified patrol units to be on the lookout for Lyons.
“We were under the impression she may be coming to the Norwalk area to carry out this threat,” Patrick said.
Deputies stood guard at Job and Family Services at the workday’s end to make sure the employees were safe.
Meanwhile, two deputies drove to Lorain County, where they met with officers in that jurisdiction to pay a visit to Lyons’ home.
Deputies located the woman at her residence and arrested her.
Police take threats against public servants very seriously, which is why the charge against Lyons was elevated to a third-degree felony, officials said.
Alt said raised voices and a curse word or two can be acceptable responses from frustrated callers, but her agency will not tolerate any threat of violence.
“We’re in a recession, times are difficult, and often in our jobs we don’t have the popular answer,” Alt said. “But we want anyone to know we’re going to take (threats) very seriously, and our partners in law enforcement will also take it very seriously.”