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.


  1. Our dispatch system works ok until you get out in the county areas then it cuts in and out and you can do better calling in on a cell phone. The system is OWNED by the county and all of the other agencies rents channels from them except for Houston PD who is finally fixing to go to 700 from 450mhz. You would think a county owned system would have more repeaters out in the county. I live two counties away and can transmit at my house so this radio system is weird. Keep up the good work with what you have, it seems like it is like this everywhere.

  2. We're in the process of re-banding and other things, the whole system is a mess. You can be standing next to the dispatch center and not be able to hit a repeater.