A Washington state 911 dispatcher has received a written reprimand from his supervisor after handling the emergency call that Josh Powell had killed his sons and set fire to his home.
"The public trust has been shaken and therefore ... formal discipline is necessary and appropriate," Diana Lock, Assistant Director at the Pierce County Law Enforcement Support Agency, wrote in a letter to David Lovrak.
The reprimand is in regard to Lovrak's handling of a 911 call that was received on Feb. 5. The caller, social worker Elizabeth Griffin-Hall, said she had gone to Powell's house to supervise a visit with his sons, Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5, when he locked her out of the home. Griffin-Hall said she smelled gas and feared for the safety of the children.
Lovrak questioned Griffin-Hall for nearly seven minutes and at one point in the call said authorities "have to respond to emergencies, life-threatening situations first." Griffin-Hall replied, "This could be life-threatening!"
Twenty-two minutes elapsed before help arrived at the Powell home. During that time, police say Powell attacked his children with a hatchet. Afterward, a fire engulfed the home. Powell and his children were killed in the gas-fueled explosion.
SUSAN POWELL CASE PHOTOS: (Article Continues Below)
At the time of his death, Powell had been under scrutiny by Utah police since December 7, 2009, the day his wife, Susan Powell, was reported missing from their home in Utah. At the time, Josh Powell told police he had been camping with their two children, then ages 2 and 4, and had last seen his wife around midnight. Suspicious of his story, investigators named Powell a "person of interest" in his wife's disappearance. Not long after, Powell and his two children moved back to his hometown of Puyallup, Wash. Susan Powell remains missing.
According to the disciplinary letter, Lovrak, an 18-year veteran of the agency, has received four previous rebukes. However, Local also acknowledged Lovrak has received 38 "commendations, compliments, and/or letters of thank you" during his career.
In regard to the Powell call, Lock said Lovrak violated four Law Enforcement Support Agency policies in his handling of the call.
"You have undergone local and national scrutiny, have admitted your errors and have identified the ways you will correct and improve your call handling in the future," the letter reads.
The letter will be added to Lovrak's personnel file.
READ THE DISCIPLINARY LETTER:
Never miss a thing. Sign up for up-to-the-minute breaking news alerts delivered straight to your inbox. Learn more