A Ghost of Christmas Past

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Christmas time in dispatch, circa 2001.  I’m in my early 40’s here.  10-4

Keep those doggies rollin’

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Tonight we gave Sgt. Whaley a proper radio send-off, as he leaves us to begin a new career as a cattleman in Texas.

Good luck and best wishes in the Lone Star State!

AngusCattle

I think his name was Murphy

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murphys_law

Sometimes the universe conspires to bring together a multiplicity of situations, each of which would be a minor problem on it’s own, but when combined create potential for deadly mayhem.  Last night I experienced that perfect storm, and it could end badly. Here’s a list of the things that could go wrong, and did:  He didn’t call on a 9-1-1 line, and he didn’t speak English. Once a translator was on the line, he didn’t mention the single most important fact of the situation, or the translator failed to properly understand the emergency.  He started off asking to speak to a particular officer, but mangled the name so badly that I had no clue who he was referring to, and wasted precious time trying to figure out who he might have meant.  After much too much time was wasted on what would turn out to be unimportant details, he got around to explaining the problem. I about fell out of my chair once I understood what he was trying to convey.  I was yelling for an ambulance to start, getting deputies responding code 3, and basically cursing him and the translator (to myself, never out loud) for beating around the bush when speed was of the essence.

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July 5, 1994 – Communications Operator I

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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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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

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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