The first one is physically painful to listen to. The 911 dispatcher totally misunderstood at first and thought the social worker was the one visiting the children, and Josh was the supervisor, although she explained the situation clearly enough. The dispatcher asked questions as if he and the social worker were in an office filling out routine paperwork, a lot of it seemingly unrelated (like what was the make, model and license number of her car, and how do you spell Josh’s last name) and had her repeat herself a lot, wasting valuable time, and told her basically that the police would stop by when they were good and ready, because this was not a “life-threatening situation” or an “emergency.” Meanwhile she was trying to explain that she smelled gas and Josh had just failed to gain custody of the kids, etc. She tried to explain also that he was Susan Powell’s husband but basically got cut off there.
To be fair, time was also wasted because the SW didn’t remember the exact address and had to dig around in her car to find it, but the dispatcher wasted a lot more time with his idiotic irrelevant questions.
The 911 dispatcher says he’s sorry and he didn’t realize the gravity of the situation. No kidding. I have to compare it to one of my 911 calls in Virginia, where things got complicated because they didn’t quite know where I was and I couldn’t tell them, not knowing the area. I think my dispatcher handled things much better and got to the meat of things in good time, even though I was panicking and confused by that point.
Following his conversation with the SW and all the pedantry, the dispatcher waited another minute to send for the police, marked it as a routine call, and failed to mention about how the SW smelled gas, and how this was THE Josh Powell, husband of THE Susan Powell. The police said they would have made it a priority call if they’d known, and would have gotten there five minutes sooner.
Hindsight is 20-20, I suppose, and in any case, once Josh slammed the door I doubt the authorities could have gotten there in time to stop him from fulfilling his murderous plan. He’d already poured the gas, after all. But, I mean, geezus… The dispatcher’s name has been released to the public and of course he’s being pilloried all over the internet and the news.
If there are any emergency dispatchers or other people knowledgeable in that area who read my blog, I would like their take on this in the comments section.