Under Construction

This site is under construction. Please be patient as we try out a few things and make some changes!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

They're Hiring!!!! -Dispatcher

So I am looking through the local newspaper and what do I see? 

The agency that I just left is, yep, hiring again!!!!

I went in to see some of the co-workers a month ago and the boss was sitting at the console.  He asks me if I want my job back and I starred at him.

"Is the mapping fixed?" I ask.

He replies, "No"

I continue, "Is the computer addressing fixed?"

He replies, "No"

I state "Then Nope!  But thank you for asking!"

The next few weeks I go in there again and am introduced to several new hires.  Yeah!!! They have new people to help!!

And today, I am looking in the paper and what do I see? 

A nice add that states they are hiring for dispatchers!!

For the size of their agency they hire more then the large agency I came from ever did in the 8 years I worked there!!

So I ask Officer, as a joke, knowing his reply, "Shall I apply?" 

I'll let you guess at the expression on his face.  It was priceless!!! So was the "Oh Hell No!!!"

I think he likes just how spoiled he is now that I am home and not busy with that 'work' thing!  In fact I know he is happy with just how spoiled he is.  I make him his own yogurt and snacks and homemade bread for his sandwiches and I figured out how to make lunch meat cheaper then you can get in the grocery store!! 

Which he sends me a text that he is ruined and will never be able to go back to the fake tasting deli meat!!

Now, that is some awesome job security!!!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Urgent... Indiana Needs to Hear our Voice!!! - Dispatcher

I don't usually post this stuff.. but recently had a friend call and let me know about it.  So a quick log in to say hello and wish you all well... I will be posting again soon... But feel this is extremely important to do.  

First read the article about what they are doing in Indiana (Indiana house backs bill on right to resist police) .. it still hasn't been through the final voting process.. So we have a short time to be heard and fight for the men and woman in blue (and their families) in Indiana!  Then let's call the governor and let him know what we really think of what he is doing to our family in blue!!!
 
I miss you all!  Can't wait to hear about what you are all up too!!! 


 
 
Here is the contact info for Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana:
Phone: 317-232-4567
By snail mail: Office of the Governor, Statehouse, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2797
Email: visit his website at www.in.gov/gov/2631.htm, click on Email the Gov.
Lets do it like this: Monday morning, at 8 a.m. Indiana time, start calling the phone number to ask the Gov to veto Senate Bill 1.
Write a followup letter and mail it to the snail mail address
Email a third followup.
This will take you 30 minutes tops to do all three and this will bury the Gov's office. Language in your email and letter should be cordial, firm and include a reminder that there are 900,000 sworn officers in the US; that means well over 1 million registered voters across the nation.
Always be cordial, professional and to the point.
www.in.gov

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Just plain determined to be right - Officer

Dispatch sends me a call.  The essentials boil down to a dispute over a parking stall in a large grocery store parking lot.  2 vehicles were coming from opposite directions and saw a vehicle begin to back out of the stall.  Both the waiting vehicles put their turn signals on indicating they were waiting for the spot, so what it came to was which way the vehicle backed out, there in, blocking one from getting the spot. 

To the victor go the spoils is the old saying.  Well, our caller won the spot.  Apparently the other driver drove off, seeking a parking spot elsewhere.  Unbeknownst to our caller, the supposed loser went back to the caller's car and wrote in the dust on the back of her car, "I CAN'T DRIVE!"  Our caller saw this and was infuriated.  She called the police from the parking lot, alleging vandalism.  We had no units to respond.  She then drove home and called insisting a unit be sent.  No units available.  A little while longer, and she calls a third time, demanding an officer be sent now, or she will drive to the police station.

I had just cleared a call, running calls back to back and was ready for a little code 7 action (lunch) when dispatch tags me before I could go out in my hidy hole.  Dispatch is very frustrated with the caller, and would like me to investigate a misuse of 911.  I head over to the caller's address and see her pulling out of her driveway and into the street, apparently tired of waiting and in route to the station.  She sees lucky little ol' me, and backs into her driveway. 

I make contact and during the course of the investigation, determine our hapless caller has a suspended driver's license and should not be driving.  I also determine there is no damage to the car, only embarrassment.  I further establish she has no follow up information regarding the would be vandal, and also that in addition to her driving suspended, she has no insurance.

I issue her a citation for driving suspended and no insurance, about $900.00 in tickets, and tell her I will write up her complaint.  I further advised her about the misuse of 911.  She is outraged.  She starts yelling about how she called and a crime was committed against her.  I calmly explain that in light of all of the information, with my learning that there was no damage to the vehicle, that her license was suspended and she had no insurance, that according to her driver record, she is a habitual offender and had a list of violations encompassing almost 3 pages, that what the woman wrote on the back of her car was not only the truth, but a public service announcement, and we can't prosecute that!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bait cars - Officer

At Big Metro City PD where I used to work, I know auto theft was a serious problem.  We had a variety of small import vehicles seized through asset forfeiture that we would put out as "bait cars" for auto thieves and then assign U. C. units to sit on them and wait for the theft to occur, which would eventually happen, and then chase them all crazy to get them.
Well in my new agency Medium Size City PD, we have "bait cars" too, but they bring a whole new game to the playing field.  Our bait cars are again small import vehicles seized in asset forfeiture, but then we revamp them and bring them to a whole new level. 
The cars are first outfit with GPS tracking.  Then they are equipped with several night vision concealed video cameras so as to capture photographs of anyone in any seat in the vehicle.  Then we install a kill switch and remote door lock.  This allows us to not waste resources sitting on the vehicle, but alerts dispatch when any door is opened.  They then start watching remote video feed and tracking the vehicle.  They put out the bait car activation and start sending locations to the field units.  When we have enough units behind the vehicle, we alert dispatch, they throw the kill switch, the vehicle engine dies, and the doors auto-lock, trapping the occupants inside.  When we are set up and ready, we tell dispatch to unlock the vehicle, and remove the occupants at our convenience.  It takes some of the sport out of it, but it still has high marks for just plain fun, "like shooting fish in a barrel". 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Stupid or just plain ignorant - Officer

I was called to a shoplift at one of the "national high end department stores" in town.  Here is this occupy wall street protestor shop lifting watches to sell for cigarettes.  He is nonchalant about his crimes, which technically are worth about $62.00 in theft.  In his bag, I find several more watches, which he proudly proclaims he stole from another large chain store on Black Friday.  I personally know he was picked up shoplifting at yet a third chain store a week ago.  He knows the system isn't going to do anything to him, he will be booked, and released with a court date.  He has been given his Miranda rights and is cooperative about telling me about his crimes. 

I go to pat him down for anything else on him, and I feel what I KNOW is a large bag of dried vegetation in his pocket in a plastic baggie.  I haven't smelled any marijuana yet, and ask him about the weed.  He tells me it's not marijuana.  I ask it's not?  He says no.  I ask him if I can pull it out and check.  He says sure!  I pull it out.  He was right.  It wasn't marijuana.  It was mushrooms.  "See! I told you it wasn't weed! It's Mushrooms!" He went on to detail how he had heard about where to get them, and when he had gotten them, never realizing weed, which is a ticket in our state, was nothing like mushrooms, a felony.  Oooops! 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Can I live with myself? -Dispatcher

Dispatchers know when they sit in that chair, and are in control of the radio... They hold the safety of the officers and citizens in their hands.  They are that Officer's cover,  back up.

It's a serious job!

With the job comes certain things to be done in a specific way so everyone knows what is going on.


The computers are a big part of this... CAD (Computer Aided Dispatching) should help you with the street address, hold history of the property and any calls of weapons, mentally ill people, or unwell/health concerns, it should also tell you which agency to send to that location.

The last agency I worked at had the whole city broken down into mile-by-mile numbered blocks.  Over time the numbered blocks that were the busiest you just memorized.  But you really didn't need to use the numbers, because the computer told you, once you typed in the address, which unit covered that area.

So, if I was sending someone to 123 main street, the computer would say... 1A Town PD responds, 1A Town Ambulance unit and Z Company Fire units go.

There is no looking up in books.  Memorizing the whole county or city or waisting time trying to figure out if that address is on the south or north side of the boundary line.

The computer is programmed to tell you!!!!!!  It knows!!!!

This one does not!

Which makes it impossible for someone that was not raised in the county to work as a 911 operator in this county.  I know.

You call in. Your husband is having a heart attack.  You give me your address, The computer does not tell me who to dispatch... I now am looking in another program that lists all the street names with what towns they belong to and who to dispatch.  Some streets have 7 pages that I have to look through.  It takes literally minutes to determine whom to send.

The CAD system should tell me who to send.  I complain, they have no clue why I am upset. I slouch back in disgust.  A few asked me what I was talking about.  When I explained how it's supposed to work, they exclaimed how that would make life so much easier.

Yes!!! It does!!!

I sink back in my chair and wonder... .How long will it take before I get one of 'those' calls... where the wait causes something bad to happen?

Can I ever live with myself knowing that this should never have had to happen?

The boss comes in the room one day and I mention it again to him.  I can't be silent.  This to me is serious business and the fact they aren't as concerned as I am is just horrible to me.

He seems to be trying to passify me. Telling me 'We're so sick of Californians coming in here telling us how we're supposed to do our job!' and talking about how he doesn't even think we can do that on this system.  I then show him the manual of the program I found online and point to the page where I say, 'see right here, it does do it!!'  To which he makes another excuse and I throw my arms up and exlaim:

'Why don't you just put me out of my misery and fire me already?'  His mouth is now hanging open in surprise as he sees how serious I am and I continue 'This program is broken!  It's not fully programmed and someone is going to get hurt!  I'm going to have to live with that!'

The co-worker next to me was in shock.  The boss re-composes himself and tried to make excuses.. He was a prior Cop.. He's good at trying to difuse the situation.

However, he came back 15 minutes later telling me he just made a phone call to the company and yes, it does exactly what I was saying it can do.  They just need to build their map system to implement it.

So for now, if you call 911, I was going to have to type in your address and then look it up in another program to determine which agency responds. 

And the question was still... Can I live with myself if something bad happens?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Some of what was happening! - Dispatcher

So why did I give notice and leave the job that I loved?

Well, let's just dive in....

When I was interviewed for the position I was shown the 'wonderful new, fully automated CAD system' It was a 'top of the line system'. I think from reading previous posts you know that it is not top of the line and in fact so inferior that it is down right dangerous.

What I wasn't informed of was that I would be called in to work in the middle of the night and as happened to another co worker, I would have to respond no matter what! One co-worker was in a town 90 minutes away having a family holiday celebration (1 week before the holiday) on her day off. The whole family scheduled this day so she could be there and not have a chance of being disrupted if she was called in. She was. She was also told if she didn't respond back into town to work immediately she would be fired. (This is what was being told to everyone by the co-worker).

What kind of life is this? Not being able to have a real day off and not worry about having to respond back in to work when they hunt you down. I'm all for working overtime. I did on average 50-60 hours every 2 months to assist in covering shifts! But... I found this disturbing.

What did I really do? I turned off my phone ringer from the moment I walked out the door on my Friday till the morning I was to work. When I was actually with Officer I would turn my phone in to airport mode so I would never get a call but could still use my MP3 features.

When I was finally released, my schedule was being changed 7 times a month. I walked in to work and was told to go home and come back in 5 hours for a 12 hour midnight shift. A few days later I was working days, then swings, then mids. I was spending my entire life trying to catch up on sleep! Going for literally days without sleep and never did I get a solid 6 hours of anything while I was working there.

When I got to know the wonderful (they are so nice) dispatchers I found out something. 20% had worked there for more then 20 years and 80% had less then 5 years on the job.

The turn over is HUGE!!!

My mother was a smart woman in the restaurant business for years and always told me 'When your service is good at a restaurant you know the management is good. Poor service, poor management'. I couldn't agree more.

I never worked somewhere where I was literally scared of making the wrong move. I watched my co-workers being written up for small stuff that while it was against policy, they themselves caught and fixed! However, 2 weeks later there would be a notice in their inbox advising them of the policy and what they did wrong and while they finally corrected it, they are on notice not to let it happen again! There was not one mistake that I made that did not go unnoticed. Even for the better of the victim/citizen we were written up. In one case, my co-worker saved a life of a citizen, and because she chose breaking policy to save the life, she was written up!

Can you say M I C R O M A N A G I N G???

Oh and did I mention that our every move is video taped? With the exception of the bathroom and the far far corner in the kitchen, everything we do is on camera, and they watch!!

Let me remind you that the CAD system is not set up fully!!! These dispatchers are working with a half a$$ put together CAD system that still makes them do everything by hand or in their case, memory. Basically, the CAD system just helps the administration with times. It doesn't do anything for the dispatchers. In my eyes! I'll focus on that later though.

Moving up here my pay was cut in half, my commute increased from 15 minutes to 50. My gas bill increased, I no longer have set days off and I am rotating on this 14 day schedule that I actually thought I would like, but it always seemed like I was working, getting off work or getting ready for work!

I needed days off that were mine! I longed for my sporadic 4 day off reward!! I dreamed of set days off where I could plug in to my MP3 player and listen to my podcasts and work on my land! It really didn't seem like to much to ask for.

So, as I sat at my dining room table looking out at the 18 pallets of bricks that were waiting for me to lay them into nice neat paths and stairs I drew up a new schedule. Taking into account all the complaints each co-worker had. Fully knowing that I am the lowest (well not anymore) man on the seniority list. I put each one of them into play on this schedule.

Several of us liked it. It was perfect!! But a few didn't. Management saw how it would fix all their issues, but never acted. Some were upset by it and it finally ended up in the recycle bin.

The main complaint? People would rather come in on their days off to work a 12 hour shift then stay over and work a 15 hour day when they were forced overtime on them. I couldn't understand this. I wanted so desperately to have my own days off and plan stuff, I was okay working the longer days, when needed, if it could guarantee me those days off where mine!

At my prior agency we were allowed to help people. At this agency you can not suggest or tell people how they can help themselves. Even if it is not a police matter! You have to take the info and pass it on to an officer that will belly-ache with you (as he should, this is not a police matter) as to why he needs to call this person back about this stupid call... When just a few months prior I was trained and able to not only say 'No' but to give all the idea's and tips on how to handle the screaming teenager, or whatever the situation was.

I was officially, by the minute, getting dumber!

Can you believe that even with all of the above going on... I was still jazzed to go in and help the citizen's in this county? I still liked my job?

So why did I really leave it all behind then?

It will have to wait for a bit.. I have ran out of time and this wind is picking up. We are probably going to lose power again so have to shut everything down. More continued very soon.

Trust me... It really is a good thing wrapped up in a bunch of garbage!