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?