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Dispatch organization responds to criticism over Powell 911 calls

TACOMA, Wash. (ABC 4 News) - The director for the agency responsible for 911 call in Pierce County, Washington responded to criticism over the way dispatch operators answered calls from a the social worker who brought Josh Powell's children to his home shortly before he took their lives and his own.
TACOMA, Wash. (ABC 4 News) - The director for the agency responsible for 911 call in Pierce County, Washington responded to criticism over the way dispatch operators answered calls from a the social worker who brought Josh Powell's children to his home shortly before he took their lives and his own.

During two 911 calls made by the social worker on Sunday, two separate dispatch operators could be heard gathering information over a span of more then 10 minutes.

Inside Josh Powell's home, police say the distraught father took the lives of his two sons Charlie and Braden.

The following is Law Enforcement Support Agency (LESA) director Tom Orr's statement:

"We at the Law Enforcement Support Agency are deeply saddened by the deliberate, heinous and evil actions of Josh Powell. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

All of us at LESA take our citizens’ safety very seriously and we have begun a full investigation of how these calls were handled. We know that seconds count and we are committed to providing the fastest response possible. Our entire focus is to improve procedures to increase citizen safety and the safety of our officers.

Things that we now know about this evil tragedy are not always so clear to those involved in the initial moments. What happened with this call first comes to us blindly on the other side of a phone; it is only in hindsight that we see things that are not apparent to the call takers.

Having said that, it is critical that the citizens of this county know that we understand our responsibility and that we live by the principle of accountability. We will investigate all aspects of this incident, and if there is a need to refine our processes (as we do continually) we will do so. If there is a need to investigate from a disciplinary perspective and assign individual responsibility, we will do that as well. That process cannot be accomplished overnight – nor should it.

Our primary interest is determining best practices for the critical function that we perform hundreds of thousands of times each year – and get it right well over 99 percent of the time. But we will not be satisfied until we are as close to perfect as we can be. We do this for a simple reason – so that the Pierce County community has confidence in how we perform our mission.

There are no words that adequately express the sorrow we feel for the family of Charlie and Braden. Nor can we dismiss the incredibly evil acts that Josh Powell committed, and his responsibility for the outcome. We will focus on those things that we can do to make our citizens and residents feel safe and be safe."



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