We landed on Mars today!

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Our latest Mars probe landed successfully today, after a 7 month journey from it’s launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Designed to study the physical structure of Mars, the probe will look for water, and use super-sensitive seismometers to study the planet’s interior. It will drill down into the ground beneath the lander to help scientists explore the mantle and core of Mars.

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I went “Over The Edge”!

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Today was the day…  I rappelled from the eighth floor of the Visalia Marriott Hotel, in a fundraising drive for The Source LGBT+ Center. Joining dozens of other participants, we raised over $90,500 (and counting), for Tulare and Kings Counties only LGBT center.

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I go “Over The Edge” Saturday

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Saturday, November 10, I go “Over The Edge“. I’ll be rappelling down the side of the Marriott Hotel in downtown Visalia as the culmination of my fundraising participation for The Source LGBT+ Center. I’m scheduled for 3 pm, so come on down and join in the festivities as I and a bunch of other folks help support The Source.

There will be a festival on site, along with the rappelling. Come on down between 9 am thru 4 pm and join us as we celebrate 2 1/2 years of community service, and fund our expansion project and our ongoing programs.

There’s still enough time to donate, and you can do that at https://visaliaovertheedge.com/jim-reeves/  Every donation is gratefully received, and there other rappellers you can support, at https://visaliaovertheedge.com/list.cfm

Friday, starting at 4pm, VIP and top earners will lead off the event, with Assemblyman Devon Mathis, Chris Ortiz of the Visalia Police Department, and radio personality April Skye going “Over The Edge”. Feel free to stop by and cheer them on.

The Source LGBT+ Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

I am a former member of the Founding Board of Directors, an Advisory Board member, and volunteer at The Source LGBT+ Center.

They’re going to throw me off the Marriott!

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Jim_Over_The_Edge

I’m a few dollars away from the minimum to be thrown off the top floor of one of Visalia’s tallest buildings! I’m looking for more donations, which go to support The Source LGBT+ Center. 

The Source is an important asset to our community, supporting the LGBT+ community with support, education, advocacy, and visibility. I’ve been honored and happy to be a small part of this fantastic group, and I hope you can help me help it to continue to grow and serve.

My personal donation page is here, https://visaliaovertheedge.com/jim-reeves/

Thanks!

I’ve decided. I’m jumping off that building.

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Yep. From a top floor balcony. Right over the edge.

No, I’m not depressed, or suicidal.

I’ll be joining up to 91 other “jumpers” as we rappel down the (other) side of one of the tallest buildings in Visalia. And it’s all for a good cause.

We’ll be participating in “Visalia Over the Edge“, a fundraising campaign for The Source LGBT+ Center. The Source is Tulare and Kings Counties LGBT+ community and resource center, currently operating out of a small office space in downtown Visalia. (208 W. Main, Suite B, Visalia. Downstairs in the Montgomery Square.) We’ve outgrown our center, and need to raise money for expansion to a larger facility. This event will kick off our fund-raising efforts to acquire a building large enough to serve our communities.

I had to think about this for a while before committing to taking part, as I’m a bit unsettled by heights. (oddly, not while in a helicopter or plane. Mostly when looking down the side of a tall building. That glass observation thing, the Sky Deck, on the Sears Tower? You’d never get me to step into that.) I’ve decided I’m going to do it, regardless. I’ll convince myself by saying it’s a “bucket list” experience, and off we’ll go. Over the side. Nine floors. That’s not all that high, right?

I’ve set a goal of $2,500 to be raised, essentially by begging. 😉  The minimum to “jump” is $1,000 but I wanted to go a bit bigger. So…

This is me begging you for some money! Yep, hat in hand, asking “buddy, can you spare a dime? Or $20? Or $100?” Here’s the link to my fund-raising page, please go there and give The Source LGBT+ Center some money. I’ll be ever so grateful.

On November 10th, 2018, come join us at the Marriott, and watch as they toss this dispatcher Over the Edge!

Just don’t call 9-1-1, even if I’m screaming, please.

Where I chat with Los Angeles Police Department Communications on Twitter

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So today on my Twitter feed, @KC6YRU, this popped up from the Communications Division of the Los Angeles Police Department. In case the font is a bit difficult to read, here’s a recap:

Poll: On average, how long does it take to fully train a new Police Service Representative (Public Safety Dispatcher) at ?”

Choices are 12 weeks, 24 weeks, or 46 weeks. Most respondents got the correct response, 46 weeks.

The next Tweet is what caught my eye.

Great job and thanks for answering our poll. It takes nearly a full year to train a new PSR (46 weeks average). The training is two phases: Dispatcher (RTO) then Call-taker (EBO). The training consists of classroom, simulations and hands-on.

It was interesting to me that LAPD trains on radio first, then on phones. That’s the reverse at what we do at our agency. I Tweeted at LAPDCD:

“You train radio first? That’s interesting. We do phones and CLETS first, radio after.”

They replied moments later (somebody’s working on a weekend):

We do. The PSR position must be able to perform both functions; radio and phones. Historically, radio has been the more difficult of the two, so we train on that first.”

That’s true for us, as well. The radio will kick your ass. It did mine, and I already knew the area, radio codes, and was an experienced ham radio operator, so I did not experience “mic fright” (a very real thing for new dispatchers). It’s even more difficult for folks who have to learn all of that stuff from scratch.

Our training program has evolved since I was a newbie (24 years ago), from three months of combined radio/phones to a much longer process. Now, we train on phones and paperwork first (there’s a ton of “paperwork” these days, even if most of it is on the computer), then radio. As I was thinking about it, it seemed to me that by doing it this way, we build up the confidence of the trainee that they really can handle whatever gets thrown at them. By the time they get to radio training, they’ve handled a ton of 9-1-1 calls, not to mention the endless routine phone traffic.

LAPD has one of the largest communications divisions in the country, so they know what they’re doing. I wonder what their wash-out rate is, and how long they keep new hires?

My interest in law enforcement dispatching undoubtedly stems from endless reruns of Adam-12 in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s.

“Adam-12, see the man, a 415 in progress. Adam-12, handle code-2”

And of course the opening credits:

“Adam-12, a 211 in progress. Adam-12, handle code-3”

(they never did say where the 211 was located, but the good ole’ Adam-12 car was shown rolling code-3… somewhere.)

 

What to do… what to do?

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nfl_knee

Decisions, decisions. I’ve been seeing more talk from NFL fans that they’re going to boycott watching the games because of the players taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality. Now that the NFL has taken steps to ban the practice, by threatening to fine the players, some folks I’ve seen on social media are fully supportive of the move. They also say they’re not going to watch any NFL games if players continue to kneel.

Now I’ve got a tough choice.

I support the players who engage in this peaceful, non-disruptive protest. I don’t at all think it’s disrespectful to the flag, veterans, or the United States. It’s full on 1st Amendment in all it’s glory.

But I find football particularly uninteresting to watch. I already don’t watch NFL, so now, to support the players, does this mean I have to start watching??

I don’t know if I’m strong enough to do that. American football is just really boring, and visually unappealing.

Such a conundrum.

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