So for the past two days, I’ve been dragging my ass backside out of bed at 7am to attend “Advanced Dispatcher” training.  Held out at our “Training Facility” at Sequoia Field, the class starts at 8am.  As you can imagine, 8 am comes damned early to someone who is usually just entering REM sleep about that time!  15 + years of swing shift does not allow easy shifting of one’s biological rhythms!  One more day, then I’ll have a nice certificate that will tell all assorted and sundry individuals that I am a certified advanced dispatcher.  And that I really CAN get up at 7am, if I have to.  I will hate it, but I can.

Three of us from TCSO are attending, several from VPD,  Kings County, and surprisingly, Turlock and Tracy PD sent dispatchers all the way to Visalia’s boon-docks for the class.

The training is out at our offices at Sequoia Field, a WWII era pilot training facility.  Remodeled who knows how many times, several Sheriff’s Department offices are housed at the site.  It creates an interesting mix of the old and new.

One more day, and we’re done.  The two days so far have been interesting, and I feel that I’ve learned some things.  One, that all dispatchers are nuts, and two, that we all have the same problems!

The instructor is an interesting fellow, good speaker, tells some interesting stories, and is a fellow HAM radio operator!  With an repertoire like that, there’s no way the class can be boring.  The last day will be a different teacher, and rumors have been floated about her…  “different”…  methodology.  It will be interesting to see what happens.  I’ve heard things about a guitar, and candles.

Yeah, Thursday might be very interesting!

UPDATE: THURSDAY after the fold…

The candle made it’s appearance, the guitar came out, but there was no singing.  A good day in class, where we discussed the need, value, and results of Critical Incident Stress Management.  Dispatchers are often left out of after-incident stress management activities, because we “weren’t there”.  Uh, excuse me, we were there FIRST!  We’re having to deal with the situation, from a basement somewhere, unable to see what is happening, relying on the phone and radio to understand the event, while you are there actually doing something.  While you’re dealing with ONLY that event, the 9-1-1 lines don’t stop.  There are still medical aids to dispatch, fights break out, stores get robbed, vehicles collide, lost kids need finding, barking dogs and loud music calls keep coming in, and we DON’T get a break between any of them.  You get to defuse as the event winds down, you go someplace quiet and write your reports, or in some way see the event through to a conclusion.  We are left hanging.

Not that I’m complaining!  I can’t imagine doing anything else as a job, but dispatchers need to be included in the after-effects just like anyone who was involved.  We were there.  You couldn’t see us, but you I know you heard us…  I have it recorded!