25 years, 3 weeks, 12 hours. 9-1-1 and done.

Leave a comment

a

August 2, 2019. After 25 years, 3 weeks, and 12 hours, I’m officially retired. Here’s a look back at some of what I saw.

More

That’s a wrap!

1 Comment

67814169_2875946542476359_5917065616363094016_o

25 years, 3 weeks, 12 hours.

That’s how long I was a 9-1-1 dispatcher with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.

Friday was my last day.  Here’s my signoff on the radio.

Here’s the text:

Calling all cars, calling all cars, and units and stations
copy BOL

(break)

Visalia one continuing,

After 25 years, 3 weeks, and 12 hours, “Radio, Jim” is officially 10-42 at 1800 hours.
It’s been my pleasure and honor to be one of the voices on the other end of this radio and the phone for that time.

Being able to support you, and serve the citizens of Tulare County as part of the team here in dispatch, has been at times nerve wracking, infuriating, suspenseful, frequently amusing, but always rewarding. I can’t imagine having done anything else as a career. (well, astronaut, maybe, but NASA never seemed interested)

My time here has seen three sheriffs, six dispatch supervisors, and various shift supervisors. Sometimes I wonder how many deputies and officer’s voices have come across my headset? There’s been a bunch, and sometimes it seemed like they were all trying to talk at once!

Being a dispatcher means being part of a team, and I want to compliment all of the dispatchers I’ve worked with over the years. The comeraderie and support for each other is what makes this place operate so well. I feel fortunate to have been a part of that.

So now I hang up my headset for the last time, and head off into retirement. Thank you for putting up with me, and for allowing me to be part of this family and team. Stay safe, be nice to the dispatchers, and know that from time to time I’ll be listening.

Visalia 1, Dispatcher Reeves, clear at (time)

Now, time to relax, reflect, take some bike rides and country drives, and cogitate on what comes next.

I may have worked my last night shift

Leave a comment

face-screaming-in-fear I may have worked my last night shift.

After 24 1/2 years, almost all of them on night shift, Monday begins the next rotation, to day shifts. I’m not looking forward to it.

My first three months, way back in the summer of 1994, were on dayshift during my training. Once released (yes, three whole months of training back then), I went to swing shift, 5pm to 3am. I stayed there, with a couple of switches to graveyard (9pm to 7am), until October of 2017, when we began our new 12 hour shifts.  That put me on days, 6 am to 6 pm.  After six months of that mess, my team rotated to nights. Now it’s that time again, and back we go to days.

But why may I have worked my last night shift? Because by the time we rotate back to nights, I hope to be retired!

July or September, depending on a few things. But regardless, I hope to be out of there before we rotate back to nights.

That also means I’ll never work in a new dispatch center. By the time one gets up and running, I’ll be long retired. Sigh.

Oh well.

Road trip!

 

“At the tone, the time will be…”

Leave a comment

04042019

These kind of things are going to make an old man out of me!

… to f’n late in my day.

A mandatory meeting for work, held three hours after getting off a twelve hour shift.

In a 9-1-1 center.

I should be sound asleep now, but duty calls. Or something like that.

Good thing I love my job. (most of the time)

Don’t bother me later, I’ll be asleep!

When is a zero not a zero?

Leave a comment

no-zeroWhen is a zero not a zero? Turns out, when it’s an ‘o’.

For almost 25 years, I’ve been a 9-1-1/law enforcement dispatcher. One task of many in dispatching is to check DMV, DOJ, and national databases for registration and stolen status on vehicles. These checks are usually done by the license plate number, but sometime we have to use the Vehicle Identification Number, also known as the VIN.

From day one of my training, way back in 1994, I was told there are two characters never used in VINs. The letter ‘o’, and the letter ‘i’. This is because they are generally indistinguishable from zeros and ones, especially on VIN plates located on vehicle dashboards or engines. Simple. Every time you see 0 or 1 in a VIN, they are numbers, not letters.

Until yesterday.

More

When is an emergency not an emergency?

1 Comment

donald_trump_02152019_emergency

“Big hands”? You decide.

I know emergencies, and, let me tell you, this isn’t one of them!

Betcha’ thought I was going to talk to you about 9-1-1 calls, didn’t you?

Nope, this time it’s all about a grifter who managed to get himself elected President of the United States invoking emergency powers to bypass Congress and the Constitution.

Can you imagine the hue and cry if President Obama had declared a national emergency, bypassed Congress, and imposed single payer?  Our health care system actually is in crisis, but the GOP would have blown it’s collective gasket.

The Republicans and their base, however, are just fine with Hair Furor attempting an end run around the Constitution and the funding mechanisms of the United States government.

More

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

Leave a comment

vis_Marriott

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

Leave a comment

lapd01

lapd02

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.)

 

Melatonin induced dreams – the latest

Leave a comment

melatonin_dreamsOne of the side effects of taking Melatonin to help you sleep is “intense dreams”. I’m discovering that “intense” for me means “really weird”, and that I remember them once I awaken. Here’s last night’s strange tale.

It starts with me sitting in my truck, a ’92 Ford Ranger, in the parking area adjacent to, but not at, a set of gas pumps at a convenience store. The engine is running. I almost never do that, just sit somewhere (other than a drive-thru) with the engine running.

ranger_w_camper

Not really my truck.

For some reason, my truck has a camper shell. In reality, my truck does not. I’ve never even considered putting a shell on the truck. Anyway, sitting in the truck, engine running.

So far, not a really weird dream. But it starts veering into, if not weird, then at least strange. And I remember it, when I usually don’t, so there’s that.

Sitting in the gas station parking lot, engine running, when a woman of indeterminate age, possibly early 20’s, maybe early 30’s, comes roaring up to the gas pumps and screeches to a stop, in an older, mid-size heap of a car. She’s dressed like…  well, there’s no real polite way to say it…

More

Day shift update. The journey so far.

Leave a comment

typically_dayshift Well, it’s been almost a month, now. Time for a day shift update.

For 23 years and 2 months, I’ve worked night shift.

By choice. I’m not a morning person. Never have been.

Some observations about 9-1-1 dispatching on day shift:

There’s a lot more of these (nonsensical, in my opinion) pleasantries about how I’m doing. You really don’t care if I’m having a good day, do you? I (usually) have to fib and tell you “I’m fine, thanks”, and then I’m obligated to ask how you are. Really, unless you’re calling in with a 9-1-1 call, it’s not any of my concern.

It’s not that I’m heartless or unfeeling. I hope you are having a wonderful day. But my knowing that doesn’t change our conversation, and there’s likely nothing I can do to make your day better if you’re having a bad one* and decide to tell me about it. Both sides of that conversation just distract from, and delay, the reason you called me in the first place. Do you need information, a phone number** , or any other of a hundred other different things I might be called upon to do for somebody?  The fact that it’s 9 am, and I should be sound asleep right now doesn’t make for a cheery “I’m great, thanks for asking” mood. Bah, humbug.

Lunch is much more of a hassle now. I have to wait until 1 pm, to try to avoid the worst of the lunch rush at nearby restaurants.

Traffic is annoying. Where the hell did all these cars come from? Why are they blocking the intersection?

Pedestrians leaving College of the Sequoias – look up from your damned phones! You’re going to walk right in front of a car if you keep that up.

Who the heck are these eleven-hundred units on my radio channel, and why don’t they follow protocol?

These twelve hour shifts are kicking my ass. You’d think two more hours wouldn’t be that bad, but the accumulative effect is already wearing me down. Having four days off every other week helps, but by the third day, I’m feeling it. On the long week, where I work four days, it’s very fatiguing. And that’s what we all need, right? A 9-1-1 dispatcher who is suffering from fatigue.

I was written up on the second day. For wearing jeans. I’ve been wearing jeans for all of my 23+ years in dispatch. Now I have to wear “slacks”. That required a hit on the JCPenny credit card I wasn’t planning on.

Oh, and day shift means I’m taking a $200 a month pay cut. Wonderful.

So as not to be completely negative, here are a few positives of day shift:

There’s a bit more eye candy coming through the door. That’s a double-edged sword, for sure. <sigh>

I’m sure there must be some more positives. I’m having trouble coming up with them right now, though. Maybe I’ll think of something later, and can edit this entry with them. Let’s both hold our breath on that, OK? (spoiler alert: I’m not holding my breath)

I’m staring at six months of day shift, before I can go back to nights. If you call in to my dispatch center during the day, and talk to a grumpy old man, that’s probably me. Sorry, after 23 years my ability to adjust to this change just isn’t going to happen quickly.

 

*again, unless you’ve dialed 9-1-1, and 99.9% of the time, you’re not going to ask me how I am. Although it does happen, strangely enough. Even for real emergencies. Haven’t figured that one out yet.

**although I’m not supposed to be a switchboard or 4-1-1 operator – that’s a pet peeve of mine. You no doubt are speaking to me on a device that can store literally hundreds, if not thousands, of phone numbers, or has the ability to look them up on the Internet. Why are you bothering me? It’s not like I don’t have anything else to do right now.

Older Entries

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: