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.


Your Dispatcher