Josh Powell Murder-Suicide: 911 Dispatcher Reprimanded
(SALT LAKE CITY) — The dispatcher who took the 911 call before Josh Powell set off an explosion that killed himself and his two sons in February has been reprimanded.
David Lovrak has been identified as the dispatcher who was handed the letter of reprimand for his handling of the Feb. 5 call from social worker Elizabeth Griffin-Hall after she dropped off the children at Powell’s home.
Griffin-Hall called 911 and told the dispatcher that she had brought two children to the residence and Powell took the children inside and shut the door, leaving Griffin-Hall locked out.
Lovrak was reprimanded for allowing 22 minutes to pass before first responders arrived at the scene.
When asked by Griffin-Hall how long it would take for help to arrive, Lovrak responded “I don’t know ma’am, they have to respond to emergencies — life threatening situations first,” according to the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune.
Signed by the Law Enforcement Support Agency’s Assistant Director, Diana Lock, the letter states that when Griffin-Hall told the dispatcher that she smelled gas, Lovrak assumed the smell was from the fumes coming from Griffin-Hall’s vehicle.
“The public trust has been shaken,” the letter, posted on the Salt Lake Tribune‘s website, went on to state, adding that Lovrak violated four operations manual policies in his handling of the call.
Josh Powell was the husband of Susan Powell, who went missing in December 2009. Within hours of her disappearance, police in West Valley City, Utah, honed in on Powell as a lead suspect. When they failed to make an arrest, Powell eventually moved to Washington state, along with the couple’s two children, to be with his family.
Powell killed the couple’s two children and took his own life in February when he set off an explosion in his Graham, Wash., rental home. The explosion came moments after the Child Protective Services worker had dropped off Powell’s sons, Braden, 5, and Charles, 7, for a supervised visit.
Lovrak could have handled the call better, Lock writes in the letter, going on to say, “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.”
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