July 5, 1994 – Communications Operator I

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911_dispatchers_never_see copy

I walked into the building at 7am, July 5, 1994, for the first time as an employee.  Communications Operator I.  Three months of training lay ahead, and a year’s worth of probation.  The place was the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, the room was in the basement, in a space originally designed to be a gymnasium / weight lifting room.  As of today, I’ve put in 20 years in that cramped space.

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I’m entering William Shatner’s contest

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I first became aware of William Shatner in 1972.  I was in 8th grade, and  a new local television station was airing reruns of 60’s television programs, including a “Wagon Train to the stars”.  Every day after school I would get home, burn through my homework, and be ready to watch when it came on.  I would have watched it in prime time during it’s time on network television, but Dad had control of the one TV in the house, and he was a western show guy.  I never had a chance back then!

My teen years included daily sessions with Mr. Shatner and the crew, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen each episode.  Bill has been a fixture in my life, and I’d love to have a chance to see him in person.

I live in Visalia, California, just down the road from property he once owned (or still does?) in Three Rivers.  I would hear stories from locals who had met him, and was always a bit envious.  (I’ve worked at the Sheriff’s Department 9-1-1 dispatch for 20 years, and got to hear some stories from the resident deputy and his wife.  Having him host a show about 9-1-1 was icing on the cake!)

At any rate, Mr. Shatner, I’d love to meet the man behind the characters.  I’ve heard it’s a great show, and I look forward to being in the audience.

Contact me, Jim Reeves,  at jim.visalia@gmail.com  I’m on Twitter as @KC6YRU, and have been a follower of Mr. Shatner on Twitter for some time now.

(fingers crossed)

Sometimes the universe just plays games with us

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notrafficFriday

Around 11pm on a Friday, just after a full Moon, on a winter day where the temperature hit 72 degrees that afternoon.  It’s almost scary.

You found what?? And you did what with them???

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GrenadesSometimes you really have to wonder.

Tonight we received a call on 9-1-1 from a woman who said she was in our parking lot and needed to have a deputy come out to speak to her immediately.  When asked why she needed a deputy, she said she had been clearing out her deceased mother’s residence and had discovered two hand grenades, had brought them here, and needed someone to come get them.

That of course required the local bomb squad be called out, as the initial deputies determined that they appeared to be real, live grenades.

One of the incredible things about this caller was that she was getting very upset that we were unable to get someone out to her in four minutes, so she called back wanting to know what the delay was about.  (the deputies are out on patrol, not in the building!)  We got someone out shortly thereafter, they called the bomb squad, and the grenades were disposed of by the bomb techs.  It didn’t dawn on her, apparently, that handling and transporting them was probably more dangerous than sitting in the parking lot waiting!

Sigh.

Rule of grenades (or other explosive devices) #1 – Leave them alone, and call 9-1-1!  Don’t pick them up, don’t drive them someplace in your car, and don’t get huffy with the 9-1-1 operator trying to help you!

Rule of grenades (or other explosive devices) #2 – See rule #1

A Day in LGBT America – The Advocate

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Advocate_day_in

The Advocate asked for submissions for a piece on “A Day in LGBT America”, so I sent one in. They chose it as one of those posted on the web.  It brings up the end of the day, since I took it at 10:48 pm.

Advocate_day_in_jim

Workin’ the OT

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10-4-2013 Tulare County Sheriff’s Dispatch, Channel 1, south end of Tulare County.

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Hey! Donkey! (said in your best Shrek voice)

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Donkeyshrek

So every once in a while, the routine stuff gets to be a bit fun to play with.  Even if most of the funny is only in my own head.

Full Moon Effect Disproven

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Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 5.14.47 AMI’ve been steadfast and firm in my conviction.  For years I’ve maintained, in the face of unrelenting public opinion to the contrary, that the full Moon has no effect on “the crazy”.

People claim that emergency room nurses and police officers all swear by the “full Moon” lore, that insists everything goes nuts on a full Moon.

Well, last night I disproved it.  Or, I should say, my dispatch center’s traffic levels disproved it.

Last night, at 6:45 pm Pacific Time, the Moon was full.  It was a calm, peaceful night.  No shootings, no stabbings (well, no stabbings by one person on another. There was one troubled kid who tried to stab himself, but for this discussion, he doesn’t count.  He’s just a troubled kid, not a lunatic.)  A few fights, a couple of loud music calls, a couple of badge bunnies, and a computer at one of the facilities that decided to let all the magic smoke out of it’s innards, setting off smoke alarms and scaring the DSOs.  A really easy shift, all things considered.

Now, the night BEFORE the full Moon, that was just crazy town!

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Oh, I didn’t just say that…

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dohI can’t believe I said that to the 9-1-1 caller.  It was unintentional, totally inappropriate, and had everyone in the room in fits of giggles.

Other dispatchers will understand the sometimes dark humor we express in our jobs, and how something that to an outside observer (or the brass) will seem completely humorless, but will have us guffawing and giggling for hours afterwards.  Something like that happened to me yesterday, and it involved a crashed aircraft and it’s pilot stuck on a rockface above a lake.

I really meant it to be reassuring, but it sure didn’t come out that way!

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Call 9-1-1 First!

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picard-facepalmIt happened again!  Someone called someone else who called someone else, who called 9-1-1!  SMH

An armed robber walked up to a food stand, brandished a firearm, and demanded cash.  The clerk didn’t understand English, and the bad guy ran off.  Rather than call 9-1-1, she called her boss, who called someone else, who called the police!

While all this was going on, an armed suspect was making his get-away, and since nobody bothered to tell anyone the description of the robber, we have no way to spot him while units are enroute.

RULE #1 – Call 9-1-1 first!  It doesn’t matter what language you speak, we can get a translator on the line quicker than you can call someone else, tell them what happened, and then have them call.

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