Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hee!

"County, is that affirmative as in yes or affirmative as in no?"

Friday, October 22, 2010

Coffee Shame

0400. Between my podmate and I we have 7 hours of sleep combined in 48 hours. The coffee run can no longer be avoided (you didn't think we would use that nasty pot in the break room, did you?). Coffee order goes around the room, and podmate finally gets to me.

"I'll have a small coffee, cream and sugar."

"Small? You know that's the size of a shot glass right?"

"I won't finish anything bigger."

"That's a disgrace to the profession. I'm bringing you a medium... maybe one day you can work up to the big girl coffee."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Open Mic

Relieving day shift at 1845, when I hear the dispatcher next to me casually mention that she had an open mic for 19 minutes and no one told her. Instead of being absolutely aghast at the professional lapse involved, she's treating this like the latest bit of hot gossip.

For 19 minutes she didn't notice that her big ole key-up indicator was fucking red. That she was hearing herself talk in her own ear, that units responding weren't in her ear, but instead coming out of the speaker on the radio box. In short, she didn't notice that just about everything was working the exact opposite of the way it should have been.

I think the more telling point is that none of her officers or coworkers bothered to save her from herself. Not because we're not helpful here, but because past attempts at trying to keep her from running a district in the ground were met with spite and contempt.

When the people that you are entrusted with keeping safe for 12 hours a day won't make a quick call in to let you know that you're embarrassing yourself on the radio, that should be an indication of how little you are thought, not how "funny" your day was.

Friday, October 15, 2010

MEMO

MEMO
TO:  Officer Goldilocks
FROM: Dispatcher S. Pants
RE: Proper key up procedure

Keying up on the radio with nothing but the sound of your call sign and the engine revving makes me think bad, vehicle pursuit-like things. I nearly broke an ankle getting back to the keyboard only to have you ask me to re-open the phone assignment you were on for a wallet theft.

You are now solely responsible for the bad district ju-ju that will surely follow. A big dump of adrenaline into a dispatcher's system and nothing to channel it into only leads to bad things. Very, very bad things.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I'm becoming one of the pod people.

Used to be that I was practically the only dispatcher in the room that could stand to have the overhead lights on and the screen on the monitors turned all the way up. Not anymore. I sit here with the overhead lights off, console lights off, and the brightness and contrast on the monitors turned all the way down. My eyes have become extremely light sensitive in the past few months.

Oh, and I sit here and constantly moisturize my hands to fight against the drying effect of using Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer.

It puts the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again.

No wonder I don't date. Christ.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap taptaptaptapta--

"DAVID!"

"So, on a scale of 1 to 10, how annoying was that?"

Male dispatchers seem to need constant attention and something to fidget with. If he keeps it up for the 20 minutes remaining on this shift, I'm going to shove those scissors up his ass.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

0500

I don't wear makeup to work.
It doesn't change the sweetness of my voice,
and by 0500 I'm rubbing my eyes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

MDC Hangman

TO/14P08/  DRINK   7 LETTERS   SN-PPL-      [HANGM  ]   (NO W, R, Y, C, O )

It really helps to pass the time on a slow Sunday night.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

WIN.




Found here

You Have Got to Be Kidding Me

Send out one Officer That's Not My Jurisdiction for a report of an overturned vehicle in front of the caller's address. He goes on scene and reports he's not able to locate the vehicle. I call the complainant back "Oh yes ma'am, it's on its roof right in the middle of the roadway in front of my house."

I key up and tell him the same.

His response?

"Did they say what kind of car it was?"

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Tired Dispatcher is Tired

I have a sleep rule:  Sleep during the day exactly like I do at night. This means no scheduling anything during the day, no answering the phone, no running errands in the morning on the way home. Come home. Eat. Sleep. My room is completely blacked out, cool, and I have an appropriate level of white noise. I sleep during the day like a champ, and I dare say better than I have ever slept at night. My day sleep is sacred.

Or, it was.

I've been getting up early on nightshift to go to the gym before work. I feel it is an appropriate encroachment into my sleep. Exercise is good for my stress level, and quite frankly there is no way I'm doing it after a 12 hour shift. As it turns out, the gym was the gateway drug into day sleep abusive behavior. The past few weeks I've been scheduling doctors appointments, grocery shopping, and even lunch with friends who all thought I was long dead during what should be sleeping hours.

The result of this is that I am one tired, cranky bitch. Snipping at my district like it's full of assholes, when it's full of the same needy but nice cops it has always been full of. I am not the dispatcher that can do the job well on no sleep and coffee. This past week taught me that. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lessons from Dayshift

1. You shouldn't bring heroin into a bank. It's very likely that you will forget it there, and then the police will show up at your house.

2. Hanging out at a major retail chain with a big rubber dildo and asking random women if they want to "go for a ride" is no way to get a date.

3. Saying "large rubber penis" on the radio in a straight voice is thus far my proudest moment as a dispatcher. 

4. The chances of an assault with injuries at 0645 turning into a hostage situation is directly inverse to the amount of coffee I have consumed.

5. If you're the traffic unit and you piss me off by suggesting *I* get you a new portable radio, I will suddenly remember you're eligible for the call rotation by giving you the next 5 in a row.

6. If your last relationship ended in a PFA filed against you, and your current one is disintegrating before your eyes as your significant other sets your clothing ablaze on the front lawn, perhaps staying single for a bit is a good idea.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Heebie Jeebies

Despite my badge bunny protestations, I have to admit I've dated a cop. One cop. The only cop I've ever been involved with in any way, shape, or form. We both loved each other, and had one of us not done the jobs we do I like to think it would have worked out. I make a point not to work his district when he's on. Not because it ended badly, but because of what almost happened tonight.

It's been raining outside and he goes out on a traffic stop:

"9-2-paul-43, I'll be southbound route 404 with whiskey-tango-8-9-yankee. It's a blue Lexus and I'm on the left hand shoulder." Obviously I know his little quirks, the two important ones here being: he drives an unmarked car, and he never gives out vehicle descriptions on stops unless there's a problem. He's on the left hand shoulder of a major highway. It's wet out. He's in an unmarked car. This driver has given him some reason to be wary. This is a perfect storm scenario of a recurring nightmare I have.

I send backup, and turn up the side channel a notch figuring if something goes south I'll hear it there first. And it does-- *click click* "Move to your right!"

Later I find out this is where he almost gets clipped by a truck.

He clears the stop and heads back out to hunt. Less than five minutes later he pulls over another car on the same highway that has again stopped on the left hand shoulder. I've had enough.

To 92P43 from PD221:  You're banned from stops on 404 for the remainder of the night. It'd be bad enough if it were someone else getting hit, I can't handle it being you. Go patrol the shopping center.

To PD221 from 92P43:  Yes ma'am, understood.

At least he can still follow instructions.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Such a Sweetheart

20 minutes before my shift is over, the phone rings. 

"Where is the on-call court this morning?"

"Judge Matheson, in New Township." I can tell by the silence on the other end of the phone that Officer McCue is not at all familiar with this particular part of the county. "Do you need directions?" After relaying them slowly, in standard direction format, I give them again, this time with landmarks. He still sounds uncertain.

"It's literally a block away from my house. Do you want my phone number in case you get lost?"

"No. It's bad enough you had to listen to this guy in the back of the car over the radio, I don't want you to have to hear him again."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dispatcher ADHD

The longer I do this job, the harder I find it to focus on just. one. thing.

I'm reading 3 different books right now. I'm not happy unless I have 8 tabs of internet open, a movie on TV, music playing, and multiple text message conversations taking place. And that's at home.

Give me a slow district at work and watch my mental breakdown occur one hour at a time. At 2300 I'm trying to bring incidents on my screen through sheer force of will. By 0200 I'm instituting a game of traffic stop bingo and trying to talk my officers into mock pursuits in their personal vehicles. The former is great fun, the latter never happens but I'm not giving up just yet.

Tonight I'm sitting in data with no data to run. My partner is sitting here highlighting passages in her bible and sighing heavily, so... yeah. I'm out of Netflix movies. My Google Reader is empty. I've had 3 cups of coffee.

Help.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Unit History Fun

0359  *MISC   ,
Cowen Park clear.... sprayed a lil OC on a skunk.... turnabout is fair play.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Things I love about my job

I feel I've been a little bitchy of late, so I thought I'd give ya'll a light-hearted list of all the things I love about this job.


The "ding-ding-da-ding" of the MDC announcing a call. I love hearing it come across the radio as a unit answers a hail. I've been doing this five years and I still smile and think "I did that."

Being perversely chipper at 0600. If they don't drop the phone, I wasn't happy enough.

Cleaning up my status board. I hate shit that blinks at me. If you sit on a call long enough, you will blink at me. See also: hunting down wayward ducklings.

Decontaminating my console at the beginning of the shift. I like knowing it's clean.

My beginning of the shift log off list. I go through my district roster and make a list of everyone that should already be logged off or will be going off duty in the course of my shift. Leads to sometimes funny conversation. "What time are you done tonight?"  "Why, you want to go to dinner?"

Hunting down wayward ducklings. This involves calling station to make sure they completed prisoner transport, sometimes embarrassing them via radio into telling me they are in fact on scene at a hot call, and not allowing them to sit on a call for an obscene amount of time. See also: cleaning up my status board.

Being the information czar. Do this job long enough and you too will be able to find the number for the albino horse and albatross rescue in two clicks, have the White House switchboard and number to the local crisis agency memorized (yes, they are related items-- if you doubt me you haven't had sufficient crazy person exposure), know the address of every problem bar in your jurisdiction, and remember the APB message number associated with that suicidal jackass you entered and cancelled in the same night last week (who, by the way, is off his meds and on the run again).

Doing that weird memory thing that freaks out my cops. I remember tags from stops two weeks ago, the occasional drivers license number, and dates of birth. See also: information czar.

Knowing without being told. Don't get me wrong, I don't ever like it when an officer is in trouble. But I like having experience enough to know that if his radio is clicking a certain way; he's fighting, that if he gives out a traffic stop with too much information; he needs another car, and if he keys up and the engine suddenly revs; I need to pull up the traffic pursuit command mask NOW.

Being the voice of reason. Calming down an upset cop is a zen skill.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Act 64: Narcotics 
See also: six-four, title 35, and the preference of my favorite red-haired Corporal: hop head complaint. 

Usage: "Two-two sam thirty, change this traffic stop to an Act 64 and send me a hook."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pissin' Off State Troopers Is What Sassy Dispatchers Do Best

Typing this entry alternating my free hand between a beer and a bowl of coffee ice cream, so, that should tell how my night was-- let's dive right in.

0600 hours:  after a standardly busy but not unordinary Friday night and one of our boros has a home invasion involving a gun. I'm not working the district handling the incident, I'm working the backup position-- arranging regional response (including the state police) and making sure the correct information goes out over all the districts. The closest state police barracks is made aware of the incident and the very nice dispatcher on the phone tells me she's sending a car.

A few minutes later the state police hotline rings and I pick it up:

SP: Hello Willowdale Barracks [chipper, as per my 0600 manifesto]

A Trooper, who I'm going to call Not The Dispatcher on account of his piss poor attitude starts in on me:

NTD: I need the phone number for the boro Sgt. 

SP: He's in the middle of a robbery, what do you need?

NTD: [annoyed] Yeah. I know. I have, like, five cars going. 

SP: Okay, what do you need? 


NTD: I need to know where he wants us to respond to. 


SP: Stand by, I'll have his dispatcher ask.

NTD: [muted on his end, but not quite enough he unleashes a string of expletives describing my work ethic, and possibly something about my mother.]

*unreadable radio transmission from the OIC*

SP: Hang on, we didn't hear that. 

NTD: [now making NO effort to cover the receiver on his end he starts to question my dispatch skills. This is war.]

SP: Yeah. I can still hear you. 


NTD:  Yeah and  I'm waiting! 

SP: [gleefully]  The OIC is advising he has enough cars already - but if you'd like to respond to the general area, that's fine. *click*

A couple notes here. Under no circumstances do I, or anyone else in my comm center give out officer cellphone numbers. We don't care if it's God calling, it's not done.  Even if we did, I am not giving out an officer's personal number so you can call him in the middle of a hot call to ask where he wants your cars. That's what the dispatcher is for. Having the dispatcher coordinate it also ensures that most of the other units in the area hear where your cars are responding to, so we can avoid, what is called in the most technical of terms: a cluster fuck.  I'd also like to think he'd like the cellphone hand free for his gun, but that's just me.

Trooper Not The Dispatcher calls back a short time later and my partner picks up the phone. He wants my name. Names, in addition to personal phone numbers, are something we don't give out. She gives him my badge number and boy is he pissed. Hotline rings again 30 seconds later and I pick up, now he wants my supervisor. Instead of just being sort of smug that I stuck it to an asshole trooper, I'm doing my Christmas Morning Dance in anticipation of my supervisor having my back, so I practically sing for him to pick up the Willowdale hotline.

In the end, my supervisor nicely and calmly told NTD to go pound sand. Your intrepid blogger finishes her beer and ice cream, reflects upon how nice it is to have a supervisor that stands up for you, and wonders if troopers are (mostly) universally assholes because they wear the hat too tight.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I have an unhealthy obsession with being overly chipper on the phone in the vicinity of 0600. I especially like to strike at departments calling in to log on duty. Two cups of coffee and caller ID is quickly becoming a grizzled old cop's nightmare:

"Goooooooooooooooooooood morrrrrrrrrrrrrniiiiing Anytown PD!"

"Jesus Christ!"  *phone drops*

[a moment later after recovering]: Yeah. We're here. Log  us on.

*click*

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The officers are my children,
And I am the mother constantly yelling
I only have two hands!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Cat

Dispatch out Officer Big Bald and Manly for injured cat after a traffic incident.

Initial text in his history reads:
Arrived and saw that cat was severely injured. Cat was put down and discarded in township dumpster.

MDC message follows a split second later:
Went to put the cat down and it lifted its head and meowed at me. Wtf.

Final text in incident history reads:
Cat was dropped off at vet with information on where it was found. Vet stated she would try and save the cat. Clear.

Fireworks

Thus far this weekend, I have received the following overly creative complaints for fireworks:

Too close to the house (nothing on fire)
Sparks shooting over the street (nothing on fire)
Excessive fireworks
Loud fireworks
Excessively loud fireworks
I don't know the people setting off the fireworks
I know the people setting off the fireworks, but I don't like them
The people setting off the fireworks don't apear to have the appropriate safety equipment nearby

To which nearly every officer has responded with some variation of "it's 4th of July, are you fucking kidding?"

Monday, June 28, 2010

Crazy

The craziest storm I have ever worked in five years at the county whipped through this week.

Herewith, the stats for Thursday:

209 calls dispatched by yours truly from 1900-0700
148 dispatched between 1900-0000
20,000 without power
10 sore fingers
2 shots of tequila
31.1 second transmission by a sawed off dick of a cop keying up during emergency traffic to tell me in a  his radio wasn't working whilst at district court. Resulting in...

1 tired and pissed dispatcher. Hey buddy, fuck you.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

GCPD

Whilst working my part-time gig at Ghetto City PD, your fearless dispatcher has taken part in the following conversations:

"Why is there a bullet on the floor?" "I dunno, it's not mine." Both officers then look at me  to visually assure themselves that I am, in fact, unarmed. Same police department who's dish drying rack was home to brass knuckles for months.  



"Tell him we gave his stuff to his baby momma."  I cannot bring myself, even after 5 years at GCPD, to actually use the term "baby momma" in conversation. Awkward phrasing follows. 

"The officer said he gave your belongings to your... girlfriend?"

[confused look]

"Ex-girlfriend, maybe?"

[blank stare]

"The mother of your child?"

"My baby momma?"

"Yes."


Currently housing a ridiculously angry 40-something female drunk, who must be fun to live with after a few beers. Keeps switching between absolute coma, wide-awake fits of rage and screaming, and from what I can tell; an utterly shit Tarzan impression. Also housing a 19 year old female, who is simply aghast that one could be arrested for spitting on a cop.

This is my last scheduled shift at GCPD until the fall, unless I'm called in to cover. I'm soaking up all the summer crazy now.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lazy

Dear Detective [Lazy, apparently],

Since you are unspeakably lazy this evening, the following events are going to occur within the next 24 hours:

You are going to call and ask for temporary felony status for a 3 day old burglary that occurred after closing hours with no weapons involved. I am going to tell you (rightly) that I'm not entering it as it does not fit the criteria (he's not a danger to anyone at this point - you've had 3 days to punch this warrant) and that you should follow established AOPC procedure and get it entered at the on-call court -- which is still open for 2 more hours --  thereby generating the proper warrant numbers and ensuring that police radio only has to handle the warrant once.

I am first going to put out a county-wide GPI (general police info) for John Doe Shitbag, to cover my ass and make you feel better. In the meantime, you're going to mull over the fact that you don't particularly like the on-call judge and don't feel like driving that far.

You are then going to call me back 5 minutes after the on-call court has closed suddenly awash with "new" information that he's possibly headed out of county, is suddenly a heroin user, and is possibly a danger to his ex-wife.

I enter John Doe Shitbag temporary felony. Massive amounts of paperwork follow. Never mind the rest of the legitimate entries I need to do tonight.

In the morning, you are going to your local judge - the one that you like - and properly punch a warrant. This warrant will not be done correctly by the court, as they NEVER are and will arrive here in police radio via NCIC one of three ways:

1. Rejected - because the court clerk didn't see fit to put in information like weight, height, eye, or hair color. This information is apparently not pertinent.

2. Accepted into the system but missing information - SID numbers, scars marks and tattoos, drivers license information, aliases, or any other type of identifying information useful to an officer coming in contact with this subject.

3. Accepted but wrong type of entry - i.e. subject should have been entered with caution, because, oh, I don't know he's an armed felon with expertise in bomb making and happens to be a psychopath and schizophrenic missing his meds.
The daytime dispatcher is now going to spend more time and more paperwork (re-running his criminal history and driver's info) fixing or, in the case of a reject, completely re-entering John Doe Shitbag. All this because you didn't feel like driving to the on-call court.

Thanks, pal.

Dispatcher Sassy Pants

Calltaker Land

As it was a holiday (read: double time and a half) tonight, we are o'erfilled with dispatchers.  I was subsequently shuffled to Calltaker Land to get in my currency time for the quarter. Only one phone line to answer and only one thing to do at a time makes for a cranky and fidgety Dispatcher Sassy Pants. All our "customers" being away at the shore for the weekend makes for a cranky, fidgety, and bored Sassy Pants.

Inane conversation with Snarky Pants did follow:

David Bowie...
"It started with Starman, I think. Then, I don't know. I woke up covered in glitter and spandex fighting the urge to dye my hair orange."

On strippers...
"I wonder if vagazzlement could be deducted as a work expense for her?"

On idiots we work with...
"....they get all the messages sent to POLD, any--- never mind. Did I ever tell you about that man who changed my life? The one when I saw him walk in the back of that bar, all tall and lean with them broad shoulders, sweet lips...."

"Didn't inquire. I've decided the solution to sitting next to the complaining is to make up hilarious problems. I was going with refusal to take input not given in received pronunciation. CAD is a classist."

One frustrating ambulance call with a reporting party that seemed to have naught for information or brains.

SP: Is she conscious?
Caller: Man, I don't understand all these questions you be askin' me!
SP: Is... she... awake?
Caller: Man, I don't know!

First she was having a seizure, and then no no... it's not a seizure but she can't breathe. Then the ambulance gets there and the jackass (who has called on a cellphone) has given me the wrong address, patient is actually a whole block away.

I want my radio back.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I spent the day in NYC with my life partner in the sarcastic arts and mutual aficionado of all things British, Dispatcher Snarky Pants. We found an authentic chip shop full of cute ex-pat Brits, took in an August Wilson revival, and pretty much snarked at the throbbing mass of humanity that is NYC on a Friday night. Hey guy in Times Square - free hugs? Really?

Cut to 0300, we're on the interstate headed back home - and stuck behind a very drunk driver for a very long time. We are, of course, not calling this in because we're not in home territory. Yet. We figured, had there been a wreck Snarky Pants is an EMT; and I'm certified in phone dialing and giving CPR to Resusci Anne. I could've dialed 911 like a mofo while Snarky Pants dealt with the gore.

As we approach the exit for Boringtown, Snarky Pants pulls out her cellphone. I shoot a look that says you are not about to become an erratic driver caller, are you really? She intently pre-dials her phone: we are getting this asshole pulled over if he gets off at our exit. Sure enough, the drunk man exits for Boringtown. Snarky Pants dials. We give chase. Or whatever semblance of chase a 4 cylinder Dodge can give.

Sassy Pants: He's speeding up!

Snarky Pants: Of course he is-- he can tell you're following him now!

Sassy Pants: Well I'm sorry! I think I missed the day in dispatcher spy school that covered how to tail a suspect!

Snarky Pants: MI:5 - season 4.

Sassy Pants: Touche.

In the end, drunk man pulled into a development before an officer could get to us. We found this rather unsporting of him since we had been stuck behind him on the interstate afraid to pass for fear of an MVA for the better part of 25 miles.

I spoke to the responding officer my next shift in, making sure to begin the conversation by apologizing profusely. He assured me that they had prior contact with the subject and was very likely "drunk off his ass". And then he gave me shit for the rest of the shift for being "that caller".

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The one where I get left for another dispatcher

Our radio system sucks. It's old, it's dodgy, I hate it, and the cops hate it, obviously. Depending on the district, weather, and where the officer is transmitting from I find myself repeating things a lot. I also get to have bionic ear moments where I pick out whole transmissions from nothing but static - which is cool, but I'd rather it worked better.

There is one department, The Dub, that is off our crap system and self-dispatches separate from the county on so-fabulous-you-could-hear-a-pin-drop digital. Digital, mind you, that I cannot hear. They often work with neighboring departments that are dispatched off the crap system - so they have given them - wait for it - digital portables that they can hear The Dub on. There are things that go on between these departments that I get completely cut out of. Dub dispatch is good with letting us know where they are, and mostly the officers are very good about giving me a heads up - grudgingly I try and accept that they have equipment belonging to another in their cars.

Cut to two weeks ago. The Dub, being a university town, is expecting some Facebook induced flash drinking mob because it happens to be finals week. My surrounding department, Mayberry RFD, is in The Dub in anticipation of shit hitting the fan. Mercifully, they operate off my system for the night. It's busier than all hell, I keep Mayberry running all night, they keep me busy with self-initiated activity, and come 0400 we are all worn smooth out--but in that we've been through battle together way that makes you think it's a good night. I feel like I worked my ass off for them, got things done properly and expediently, and I feel like part of the team for a little bit.

Late in the shift Dub dispatch calls and asks if I can send Mayberry out to an address in Mayberry - Dub dispatch has an officer there doing a follow up and there's an open door. It's 0400 or thereabouts, this is "not good news. " I appreciate that the dispatcher did not just use the digital and completely cut me out of sending my officers into something potentially dangerous, and I send them on their way.

Mayberry arrives on scene and the lead officer keys up on my radio that I have practically BLED on him for this night and says: "show us on scene, however we will be keeping status with The Dub -- their equipment works better here."

I felt like I had been shot in the heart AND divorced all at once, in public.

After the incident was handled, uneventfully I might add, I gathered my wits about me and summoned Lead Officer Jackass via MDC. I informed him that he had, in fact, left me for a man.... because he liked his equipment better. I furthermore reminded him that I can only work with the equipment I have and until his department decides to be dispatched elsewhere - I'm your momma and don't you dare do that to me again!

This is something that I know LOJ won't think about again. I know I will remember it the rest of my career, because I take this job and his safety very personally. I'm not just the voice on the radio, I'm the one starting back-up your way before you ask for it because I just know. Respect that, and me.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sometimes I'm the Mood Police too

Saturday night at work and I am sitting the wild wild West. Not much that I can't handle going on, and then the state police line rings. Troopers involved in a hit a run, can I send in surrounding departments to look for the vehicle and suspects? You bet your ass I can.

What followed was slightly controlled utter chaos. We can't hear the state police radio - but they can hear me. Which means coordinating between the PCO at the police barracks, her troopers, my officers, and me. Phone. Radio. Radio. Phone. Assisting units have some vague idea of where they're going, but are in need of directions. Repeatedly. No, north. No, your *other* north. Local unit finds the vehicle in question, and gets a little too excited about it and gives me an intersection that doesn't exist and then doesn't freaking answer when I ask for a correct location, panicking my units that are racing to back him up. I take a deep breath, and calmly explain to all who are listening that his probable location is X street at Y avenue - and huzzah, the dispatcher is right.

I do my best to sound calm and professional because I know it can help keep a lid on the insanity level. If they calm down, they stop acting like retards. They stop acting like retards, things get easier. But, secretly, the inside of my brain is freaking out. It's making mental checklists of officers to yell at for speaking out of turn, giving wrong locations, and just generally NOT listening to what I am telling them. It's replaying the "officer in a car accident" scenario that is my personal nightmare. All the while, frantically trying to put order to this mess, and like attempting to fit an octopus in a mesh bag - something keeps popping out.

In the middle of coordinating three separate-yet-related things (vehicle and suspect #1, suspect #2 on foot, actual crash scene with suspect #3) I'm getting computer messages from other officers in my district -- "are the troopers going to the hospital?" "how bad was it?" "do you know their names?" -- all things, that really, I know can wait. I'm not calling back the PCO in the middle of all this to ask her to stop what's she's doing to relay information that is not going to help catch the bad guys. I balance that with the need to balance the "freak out" factor taking place in my district. They are all on edge. Suddenly I start getting a lot of traffic stops and "occupied suspicious" vehicle action. And I know that right now they need to know and calm down or my night is going to slip slide down the rabbit hole. So I call the PCO back, apologize for having needy cops (but she understands), and get all the extra information. Both troopers treated at the scene and released, it wasn't that bad, their names, and I pass along that everyone responsible is now in custody.

And just like that, we're back to normal. Amazing.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Rule of Threes

Movies I will stop my day to watch the last 3 minutes of:
1. Stardust
2. Gladiator
3. Star Trek

Three songs I listen to over and over:
1. Florence + the machine "Cosmic Love"
2. Muse "Undisclosed Desires"
3. Cavo "Let it go"

Three websites taking up too much of my time:
1. Gmail
2. Facebook
3. IGX

Three things I think when first presented with a call:
1. The calltaker computers should have automatic spell check. (Femlae, anyone?)
2. They called 911 for this?
3. Oh... [bleep].

Three words I say most on the radio:
1. “Okay"
2. “Unit"
3. “Paul"

Three phrases I say most after I've just let go of the radio:
1. "I don't care if you're coming from the left side of hell, just go!"
2. "Ee-nee me-nee my-nee mo, can you hear my ra-di-o?"
3. "Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Dispatcher Rant

Dear Mr. Officer,

I have heard the story you are about to tell me 50 times before from 50 different cops. I'm sure you are needlessly suffering at home from a frigid sexless marriage and a shrew wife. Yes, I know my 1-900-dispatch voice is a bright spot in your otherwise dreary shift.

But there are a few things you should consider. The woman on the other end of the radio is not the smoking hot Angelina Jolie look-alike you are imagining. Nor are you the tall, dark, and handsome cop I like pretend populates my district. I know better, and you, having visited the comm center, certainly know better.

I'm your dispatcher. Equal parts lifeline, mother, pain in the ass, and caring voice on the other end of the phone/radio. What I am NOT, is a slut and a home wrecker. I don't sleep with married cops, maybe you should try the girl working the next district over. Your tale of sexless woe and despair is not the first that I have heard, and it will not be the last. And maybe if you weren't so busy trying to schtup the communications division, you'd have more time for your wife.

Sincerely,

Your Dispatcher