9-1-1 envy

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The City of Visalia opened it’s new communications center to the public today, and now I have a serious case of dispatch center envy.

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Their new center is spacious, well laid out, modern, and will be a joy for their staff to work in… especially since the current center is a small room in the basement of the police station downtown.

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This center will serve the needs of Visalia for the next fifty years or more.

Tulare County really needs to get on the ball and upgrade it’s 9-1-1 dispatch center, which is also in a small room in a basement. (It’s supposed to be moved upstairs to a somewhat larger room (with windows!) soon, but “soon” in government speak is always vague.) Plans to move it to the new Cigna building at Akers and Tulare are on “hold”, probably forever (my pessimism is creeping in here), and I doubt it will ever be there. The county should follow the City of Visalia’s lead, and build a dedicated 9-1-1 communications center. (especially since the county missed the boat and… ‘declined’… to join with Visalia and consolidate the centers into one building.)

Congratulations, Visalia. You’ve got a well laid out, modern, functional emergency communications center that will serve the city for a long time. I’m green with envy.

I wonder if it’s a time to consider a change in my work venue?

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You Can’t Get There From Here

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where

Twice this weekend I’ve been confronted with addresses which don’t exist. In one case, I was going to pick someone up, and in the other, I was asked why 9-1-1 could not find the scene of an accident. In both cases, the wrong address was given.  Neither of these incidents involved my employment as a 9-1-1 dispatcher, I was “off-duty”, but both required my skills as a dispatcher to figure out and solve.

Scenario one:

I was going to Fresno to pick up a person to take to lunch. The address I was given popped up in my phone’s mapping app with no problem, so I drove right to the spot indicated. Trouble was, no house in the area had the actual number I was looking for. I called the person, and he indicated that, yes, it was the correct address. He stepped out and looked for me, but I saw no one, and he didn’t see me. As we discussed the problem, he mentioned he was in a neighborhood that I knew was nowhere close to where I was, but was clear across town. I headed that way. Once I got into the area in question, I was still unable to find the correct address. We talked some more, and I tried to get cross streets. Once I figured out where he was, I realized he had given me the correct numbers, but the wrong street! He was giving me the cross street, not the street on which the house was actually located. To top it off, the house in question was across the street from someone I knew! It took an hour extra to find him (Fresno is a rather large city, and traffic is a pain), and all because he didn’t know the correct address to the house in which he was staying. I eventually found him, and we had a nice lunch at Irene’s in the Tower District and then a visit to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. An enjoyable day, after the wandering around Fresno for an hour.

Scenario two:

This incident was due to difficulties had when someone called 9-1-1 and gave an incorrect location for a traffic accident. The wrong street name was given, and the 9-1-1 dispatcher could not get it to “geo-base” in the dispatch computer. As far as the computer was concerned, there was no such place. The CHP dispatcher, being in Fresno and not familiar with a rural location outside of Visalia, could not figure out where the accident was located. When asked for a cross street, the caller said there was none. (Their is always a cross street, it just might be a long distance away.)  Roads in cities often continue out into county areas, and as such the designations usually change to a county name. Sometimes they don’t, and this might create greater confusion. This particular incident involves a street originating in Visalia, and extending out almost to Farmersville.

Mineral King Avenue is now a frontage road to Highway 198 as it passes through Visalia. It is on the north side of the freeway, and Noble avenue is the frontage road on the south side. As we continue east out of the city, the Mineral King becomes Avenue 296. Sometimes. It shows up on many on-line maps as Mineral King all the way to it’s terminus east of county Road 168. The end of the road is where this accident occurred, as a vehicle crashed onto property at the end of the frontage road.

Many people, and some on-line maps, call this frontage road “Mineral King Avenue”, even though it’s correct designation east of the Visalia city limits is Avenue 296. The frontage road on the south side of the freeway experiences the same issue. It is Noble Avenue in the city of Visalia, but changes to Avenue 295, like Mineral King changes to Avenue 296, at the city limits. Except there are places as you approach Farmersville where the name changes back to Noble, and new numbering is used, as the locations are in that city. These changes cause no end of confusion, as was the case in this call to 9-1-1.  Once the correct address was determined, emergency units could respond.

The lesson to be learned here? As I’ve often said, *YOU* have to know where you are. That means you have to know the correct address, not just what you assume it to be. Every place has an address, and it’s up to you to know what that is, or at least to know the closest cross streets.

It’s an imperfect world out there, and you just have to adapt to that imperfection. Unless you do, you’re likely to have someone tell you that where you’re at doesn’t exist.

Facebook deletes pic of Melania Trump

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So this picture violates Facebook’s standards of decency. Imagine that.

I tried to post it as a response to a post that had several uncomplimentary pictures of First Lady Michelle Obama, which said the poster could not wait to get her out of the White House.  My post was “to be replaced by this?”

It only took a few minutes for FaceBook to delete it, and chastise me for posting pornography.

Well. Ok. I think FaceBook made my point for me.

Banned in Boston? No, but Twitter is close, right?

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My heart is all a-flutter! I just discovered that I’ve been banned from my Congressman’s Twitter feed! Apparently someone took notice to some of the comments I’ve made, and questions I’ve asked (but never had answered), and decided the most effective response was to block me from his Twitter.

Here’s my latest Tweet at Congressman Nunes:

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I’m assuming this is what precipitated my banishment, but it could be that some other questions and comments I’ve made have left a…  shall we say, poor impression?… on the Congressman. Or someone on his staff, more likely.

At any rate, I’m tickled.

Survey says!

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phone-survey

So yesterday I did something I rarely do…  I picked up my ringing landline phone at home, even though the caller ID was unclear about who was calling. I’m glad I did, because I think I got to skew a conservative, oil-industry survey.

I’m pretty sure I was speaking with a woman in a call center somewhere in India. Her accent was pretty thick, and I had to ask a couple of time for her to repeat what she said. Except for the language barrier, the survey went pretty well. For me, anyway. I’m sure whoever sponsored the call isn’t going to be happy with my responses.

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#TheResistance

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resistance

This came across my Facebook feed today, reposted by George Takei.

” I listened as they called my President a Muslim.
I listened as they called him and his family a pack of monkeys.
I listened as they said he wasn’t born here.
I watched as they blocked every single path to progress that they could.
I saw the pictures of him as Hitler.
I watched them shut down the government and hurt the entire nation twice.
I watched them turn their backs on every opportunity to open worthwhile dialogue.
I watched them say that they would not even listen to any choice for Supreme Court no matter who the nominee was.
I listened as they openly said that they will oppose him at every turn.
I watched as they did just that.
I listened.
I watched.
I paid attention.
Now, I’m being called on to be tolerant.

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Sheriff Boudreaux with the TCSO 9-1-1 Dispatch crew

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Hey, that’s us! That’s me, up there in the back row on the left, in glasses. On Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, we had an “all hands on deck” staff meeting.  Dispatch, along with Records, IT, and the Business office staff were on hand for a yearly confab with Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux.   We spent an informative hour with the Sheriff, as he brought us up to speed on the many projects in the works at the department.  He also took some questions, and we didn’t hold back.  It was a good meeting, with everyone looking forward to the future and the plans for the next few years.

These are the folks that handle 9-1-1 and non-emergency calls into our dispatch center. We handle calls for the Sheriff’s Office, Farmersville, Exeter, Woodlake, and Lindsay Police Departments. From missing children to shootings, this is the group that takes it all in stride, and gets help going.

It’s a great group of people, and I’ve enjoyed the 22 years I’ve been there.  I’m going to be there for a while yet, and I don’t know of any other place I’d rather work.  Well, like I’ve said before, NASA, but they don’t seem the least bit interested. Alas.

Image: Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, Facebook

 

 

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