Sunday, February 15, 2009

Love is in the air...

I had every intention of posting yesterday, but when I got off at 2300 I came straight home and drugged myself with NyQuil and Mucinex and passed out on the couch. My Valentine's Day present from my husband? The flu. Thank you, honey. I appreciate it.

That being said, work was so not fun yesterday. I was call-taking with an incredibly sore throat that made my voice sound like Tara Reid. On top of already not feeling well, I had to deal with the following morons.

A very irate man called me on 911 to demand the non-emergency number for one of the police departments we dispatch for, as he had a "robbery" to complain about.
Me: 911, where is your emergency?
Him: I need the non-emergency number for the X Police Department.
Me: We dispatch for them, sir, how can I help you?
Him: You can start by putting the fucking number in the fucking phone book!
Me: ... Did you look under "Government?"
Him: No! I looked under "S" for the S. Police Department.
Me: Ok... what did you need?
Him: I need to report a robbery.
Me: What's your address?
Him: Taco Bell
Me: What happened?
Him: This happens all the time! They're robbing me of my full order.
Me: Did you talk to a manager?
Him: She laughed at me.
Me: Ok, Sir. What's your (name, address, etc)? ....

When I looked up the schmuck in house, he has a history of assaulting police officers. So, needless to say, he merely got a phone call from the officer and was told to lay off the booze.

On top of that charming man, I dealt with four domestics, one of which ended up in arresting the male for two counts of domestic battery, a suicidal subject that was actually in another county, an 18 year old male that was unresponsive (turned out he drunk himself into oblivion) and the parents were screaming at me to just "send the fucking ambulance already," and one really nasty roll-over accident.

The perk to yesterday? My husband brought me food from our favorite Chinese restaurant and a single red rose and had dinner with me at work. Just another day in the life...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Domestic Bliss

So, after coming back from my "weekend," I get stuck in everybody's favorite position - call-taker. It's always my luck to deal with the biggest jerks in the county whenever I answer the phone. Sure enough, within the first hour I had two domestics. Not a lot, but certainly not the way I want to start out my "Monday."

The first guy was three sheets to the wind, admitted to slapping his twelve year old daughter, and couldn't understand what was taking the police so long to get to his house. And because I dared to ask what provoked the domestic today, he said "Good bye!" and hung up on me. I don't think so! I called him back and got an earful because the police still weren't there (mind you, this all happened in a matter of three minutes). I called him back, he answered (surprise!) and he continued bitching because I wasn't helping him. Before I could chew him out, officers S48 and S33 arrived on scene and proceeded to do ... nothing! No report. No arrest. They didn't even run anyone's name to see if they were wanted or had valid driver's licenses! NOTHING. They were there for a total of six minutes before they cleared. WTF? Why even bother responding?

The second call happened shortly thereafter, while I was still steamed about the drunk and my S officers not doing a damned thing. The second guy wasn't drunk, but just as stupid and argumentative. He was calling because he was supposed to have visitation with his fourteen year old son and when he showed up the son and his mother were arguing. Ok. Valid reason to call. But then he proceeds to tell me how worthless my deputies are and how we're not going to do anything, so why did he even bother calling, and as soon as his son gets in the car, he's taking off. Um... no. That's not how it works. I told him that. I said, since he called in a domestic he and his son need to wait and talk to the deputy. No chance. He starts going on and on about he's not waiting and he's got stuff to do that night, blah blah blah. I finally got through his thick skull that he needed to pull the car over and wait. He agreed to wait for five minutes. Three minutes later, he calls back demanding to know where the deputy is. I told him he was on the way and to keep waiting. He screams at me and hangs up. The deputy finally gets there, knowing full well in advance that this guy is being uncooperative, and proceeds to "talk" to him for about four minutes before the guy screamed obscenities at the deputy and drove off. The deputy, 44, who happens to be one of my absolute favorites, said that if the fourteen year old son wasn't in the car there would have been a beat down.

So, other than those two morons, the rest of the night went fairly well. I spent the majority of the shift playing 411 for the public, since apparently that number is too hard for them to dial, but 911 is infinitely easier. (And FYI, you can dial 1-800-FREE-411 and it's free. No more "911 is free, 411 costs money" bullshit!)

After work I had a long talk with the newest dispatcher to our department. For the sake of anonymity, we'll call her Sassy. That word describes her perfectly. And I think because of that she's getting a lot of flack from the veterans who feel she hasn't been there long enough to be so fiery. It also doesn't help that she's the youngest one there (thank god, it's not me anymore!) and she's tall and pretty and from the outside she has a picture-perfect life. I get along with her really well and I hope she doesn't let the other vipers scare her off. I was there two years ago. I feel her pain. And I told her my experiences, which I think helped her a bit - at least to know she's not the only one.

I mean, seriously? Are all dispatch centers so damn clique-y? I know ours is. It's brutal. The patrolmen call it the Viper Pit, Viper's Nest, Hen House, etc. Out of a division of 26 people, we have seven males. Cattiness is a daily part of life. Drama, drama, drama...

K9 Cops

I'm watching Animal Planet's "K9 Cops" right now (recorded on my DVR) and once ... just once ... I wish we could see a canine chomp down on some mope's butt. Is that too much to ask? I know I would enjoy it and I'm sure the canine would feel satisfied too. Tracking the mope isn't nearly as much fun as catching him. Besides, maybe the guy will think twice next time before running from the cops!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Texas Deputy vs New York Lawyer

A lawyer runs a stop sign and gets pulled over by a sheriff's deputy. He thinks that he is smarter than the deputy because he is a lawyer from New York and is certain that he has a better education then any cop from Texas . He decides to prove this to himself and have some fun at the Texas deputy' s expense.

The deputy says,' License and registration, please.'

'What for?' says the lawyer.

The deputy says, 'You didn't come to a complete stop at the stop sign.'

Then the lawyer says, 'I slowed down, and no one was coming.'

'You still didn't come to a complete stop,' Says the deputy. 'License and registration, please.'

The lawyer says, 'What's the difference?'

'The difference is you have to come to complete stop, that's the law. License and registration, please!' the Deputy says.

Lawyer says, 'If you can show me the legal difference between slow down and stop, I'll give you my license and registration; and you give me the ticket. If not, you let me go and don't give me the ticket.'

'That sounds fair. Please exit your vehicle, sir,' the deputy says. At this point, the deputy takes out his nightstick and starts beating the daylights out of the lawyer and says, 'Do you want me to stop, or just slow down?'

The Voice of 911

Have you ever wondered who answers 911 calls? Have you ever wondered what it takes to be one of those people? What really goes on, behind the scenes, when you call for help? Who is the person on the other end of the phone?

I am one of those people. I am a Dispatcher. I am one of many telecommunicators dedicated to helping in a time of need. That said, I am not a robot. I am not a saint. I am a human being. I have emotions, good and bad, and I have feelings. I am here to help explain what life is really like in the day of a dispatcher.

About me:

I am a twenty-something year old Telecommunications Deputy living in Illinois. Yes, I said deputy. I am a sworn deputy for my county's Sheriff's Office. I took an oath to serve and protect, I wear a uniform and a badge. I have all of the rights and powers of a deputy on patrol; I am merely confined to a bullet-proof room for eight hours a day. And, sadly, my lieutenant does not believe in arming his dispatchers - although on most days, that's probably a wise move on his part.

I will have been at my Sheriff's Office for two years at the end of this month. It was not a career I grew up dreaming I would end up in. Having graduated from college with a B.A. in a field that has absolutely nothing to do with Law Enforcement, I was thrust into the real world with nothing but my hopes and a flimsy piece of paper to keep me afloat. It took me over a month to find a job after graduation, and most of that time was spent actually testing for the Sheriff's Office. I had to pass several written tests, psychological tests, a polygraph, fingerprint and background checks and finally two oral interviews before I was hired. Two years later, I'm still here. I can honestly say now I love my job. It is utterly frustrating but fulfilling at the same time.

What I do during an eight-hour shift:

In addition to answering 911 calls, I also:
  • answer non-emergency calls
  • enter warrants for arrest (as of the time of this posting, my county has over 4,000 active warrants on file)
  • enter orders of protection (a.k.a. restraining orders)
  • enter missing/runaway subjects (juveniles and adults)
  • enter stolen/missing objects (cars, license plates, weapons, etc)
  • enter Sex Offender and Violent Offender registration forms
  • maintain records on all of the above forms
  • and depending on the day, I dispatch for 23 different police, fire and EMS agencies (9 police and 14 fire/EMS)

Dispatcher roles within our Communications Room:

There are normally five Telecommunicators (TCs) on duty at a time: one sergeant (Sgt.) or Officer-in-Charge (OIC) and four deputies. Each of us has a specific task to do for the day and we rotate our position everyday (except for the Sgt or OIC). The Sgt. is obviously in charge and oversees everything in the room. If something goes wrong, it is their butt on the line. Then there is a call-taker, who's primary job it is to answer the phones and enter calls into the computer for dispatching. The fire/EMS dispatcher does just that - dispatches fire and ambulance crews to various locations. They are also the second call-taker. Then there are two police dispatchers. We have the 9 police agencies broken up over two frequencies. We also have two extra positions available in our room, in which case, we could have three people whose sole job it is to answer the phones.

So, when a person calls 911 and gets snippy because the call-taker keeps them on the phone to get information, please try to remember that chances are the dispatcher has already entered the information into a call and someone else has already dispatched the proper agency to location of the incident. Generally, there are more than one dispatcher in the same room (there are some instances where it is still only one person, but those are usually only in rural/small town dispatch centers).

Any questions, comments, or concerns?
Please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at

Thanks for reading!