I found this article about the dispatcher who took the social worker’s 911 call after Josh Powell locked her out of the house. (I wrote about the call earlier, and linked to a tape of it.)
There is no doubt that the dispatcher, who’s been working at the call center since 1993, screwed up badly in this case. He admits it himself. But he had a good record and had gotten commendations and such for his work. He even won the Crowning Achievement Superior Service Award last year and was called “shining example of a compassionate, knowledgeable 9-1-1 call taker.” Nevertheless he’s (understandably) being crucified all over the internet and presumably on the streets of Pierce County, Washington.
There’s a comment on the article that sums up the situation very nicely in my opinion, and merits quoting in full:
We should not judge him – he is judging himself quite well without our help. We cannot say that, had he realized what the social worker herself did not quite realize in the first moments, those two children would be alive. It is doubtful they could of been saved by anyone once that front door slammed. We have only one person to blame in this ugly mess and that is Josh Powell. Direct your anger at him alone and leave this poor 911 dispatcher alone for he will carry that horrid conversation in his head for the rest of his life.
I think a lot of people are focusing their rage on the dispatcher because their real target, Josh Powell, is out of reach of all of us.