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POWELLS: TNT does call-takers a disservice

Letter by Tracey A. Thomspon, Tukwila on Feb. 10, 2012 at 11:21 am | 12 Comments »
February 10, 2012 11:50 am

Re: “Call-takers criticized for 911 calls in Powell tragedy” (TNT, 2-9).

The News Tribune does a grave disservice to all employees of the Law Enforcement Support Agency (LESA) in suggesting that a communications officer inappropriately handled the call that preceded Josh Powell’s tragic murder of his two sons.

To criticize the officer’s tone as rude, impatient and abrupt shows a complete lack of understanding of the job. Communications officers at LESA are trained professionals who answer hundreds of calls daily and must extract critical details that can be crucial in protecting community members and law enforcement responders.

Over the last three years, communications officers at LESA have taken calls involving a number of high-profile tragedies, including the murder of four Lakewood police officers in 2010, the murder of a deputy and shooting of a sergeant from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, and the murder of a Park Ranger in Mount Rainer National Park on New Year’s Day.

Without exception, they have performed their duties valiantly, compassionately, and with integrity and the utmost professionalism in highly stressful emergency situations. Before leveling unwarranted criticism, it is important to understand the true nature of the work and the outstanding service these men and women provide to keep our communities safe.

(Thompson is secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 117.)

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