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Social worker's 911 call from Josh Powell's home

  1. Feb 10, 2012 #1


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    Wow, just wow. Where dig they dig up this 911 call person? The transcript is ridiculous. For people not aware of the case, Josh Powell was under investigation for murdering his wife. When his children showed up for a court supervised visit with their father, he locked the supervisor out, took his children to the garage where he attacked them with a hatchet, then blew them all up.

    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 10, 2012 #2


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    That's really sad, Evo. There aren't words to express how sad...
  4. Feb 10, 2012 #3
    The ball was dropped by so many people in this case it is awful.

    I can remember having to make a 911 call when I was a kid, and I didn't have to go through any questioning like that! I do think the 911 operator needs to be fired, but I also think this shows how flawed their system has become. I understand how overwhelmed they can get from non emergency calls, so it is also easy to white wash his glaring mistake of missing vital details the case worker provided. The system needs to be revamped, IMHO.

    I feel so bad for the Cox family, this should have been avoidable. Had police been immediately dispatched (vs 21 minutes later) may not have been quick enough to save those children, but it would be nice to know the dispatcher didn't behave this poorly. I feel awful for the Cox family. Chuck closed his business last year due to the emotional strain of his daughter being murdered, now this.
  5. Feb 10, 2012 #4


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    The social worker showed remarkable poise -- perhaps s/he shouldn't have? Maybe the idiot 911 dispatcher would have paid more attention and/or dispatched police faster.

    Last year, I got sideswiped on purpose by a guy who was road-raging who I stubbornly wouldn't let in. We both pulled over and I dialed 911. The dispatcher asked me if both cars were drive-able and I said yes -- if there were any injuries, no. Apparently, if the cars are drive-able and there are no injuries, the police won't come. I considered acting hysterical and scared (I was a little scared) to get the police to come anyway, but I didn't. Though it is beyond what should have been necessary, the social worker could have exaggerated the perceived danger to get a better response.
  6. Feb 10, 2012 #5
    That is possible, but it is my impression that he was focusing on her saying "he closed the door in my face" instead of "he took the children" "I smell gasoline" "Josh Powell..." I can't imagine how anyone local can not have heard his name, but the guy could be very young and not pay attention to the news. He didn't listen at all. He just thought this lady was complaining. Well, that is my opinion...

    And how does an intentional road rage accident not have the driver ticketed and/or thrown in jail??? That is really messed up, Russ.
  7. Feb 10, 2012 #6

    Ben Niehoff

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    The social worker failed to communicate the most important information first. You can't make a 911 dispatcher wait for the punchline...you've got to come right out and say what's going on.
  8. Feb 10, 2012 #7
    Looking at the transcript he did. What should he have said?
  9. Feb 10, 2012 #8
    How they play 20 questions in Washington state:

    SOCIAL WORKER: Hey, I'm on a supervised visitation for a court ordered visit and something really weird is happened. The kids went into the house and the parent, the biological parent, his name is Josh Powell, will not let me in the door. What should I do?

    18 questions later.
    911 OPERATOR: Alright, now it's clear.

    Actually, the 911 operator did a fair job, it only took 18 questions. Here's how we play the game in South Jersey:

    SOCIAL WORKER: I have good reason to believe that a child's safety is in danger. Please send a squad car right away.
    911 OPERATOR: Clear.
  10. Feb 10, 2012 #9
    Yes, she was experiencing fear/anxiety and wasn't clear from the get go. But once she said "I smell gasoline" that guy should have listened to her. Maybe she thought the name Josh Powell in the beginning was enough, but the guy hadn't heard the name before?
  11. Feb 10, 2012 #10
  12. Feb 10, 2012 #11


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    That 911 call wasn't the only dreadful thing about this case. It's been just completely tragic, from beginning to end.

    Beginning: The dad apparently killed the mom, but police have not been able to make the case. No body has been found.

    Middle: Police arrested the grandfather, who lived with the dad and kids, on child porn charges.

    Near end: The dad killed the kids and himself.

    End: Westboro Baptist Church announced they were going to picket the kids' funeral because Washington State is about to legalize gay marriage. They later announced that they would not - good thing, as I think lots of folks around here were ready to take matters into their own hands.

    RIP, kids (and mom).
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