Dayshift update: Nightshift soon

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night-owl-vectorA week to go. The six months of dayshift are winding down, with four shifts left before the “team” I’m on switches to nights. My previous posts have explained how I really don’t like day shifts. The fatigue has diminished as I adjusted to working days after more than 23 years on nights, but it has never gone completely away. Trying to acclimate to a work day starting at 7am has been tough. Now, just as it might be finally happening, I’ll be back on nights.

I quit the melatonin as quickly as I could, as it didn’t seem to help, and gave me “intense” (i.e. weird) dreams. My sleep has become a bit more restful, but combined with 12 hour shifts, I haven’t felt this tired, for this long, in… like ever. It’s a fatigue that just never goes completely away. I’m hoping going back to nights will be a quicker and easier transition.

And guess what? We’re losing several dispatchers in the near future. One has already quit, and others are moving on to other jobs. We’ll be short staffed. Again. That means more overtime will have to be filled (something this new schedule was supposed to cut way down on.), and I’m certain we’ll end up with assigned overtime. The solution to these problems seems simple to me, but the county doesn’t seem to think the center needs more bodies. Please stay on the line, your call will be answered by the next available operator.

So, only a few more days on days. Then 12 hour night shifts. It’s weird. So far, most of my dayshifts have had me going to work in the dark, and then coming home in the dark. Now, I’ll be going to nights, and coming to work in the daylight, working in the dark, and going home in the light. That’s not going to mess with my bio-rhythms, is it?

I used to say I loved my job. I still do, but I no longer look forward to going to work. Hurry up retirement. I’m fading fast.

 

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?

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

 

 

10-9?

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dispatchminions
I’ve been a dispatcher for 22 years. You’d think by now I could understand any deputy or officer say any name, no matter what.  Well, you might think so, but you’d be wrong.

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Friday night at 9-1-1

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9 1/2 hours on channel two Friday night. A full Moon. In August. At one point, 25 units on my channel. All it takes is one to decide to do a traffic stop, then suddenly ALL of them want to do traffic stops! Fights. Parties. Loud music. More fights. No barking dogs, oddly. Reckless drivers. Drunk drivers. A couple of wrecks. Several ambulance runs, one a 15 day old difficulty breathing, one 84 year old difficulty breathing. Shots heard. Child exchanges. Child exchanges that didn’t happen, and the other parent is pissed. Welfare checks because somebody on Facebook was fishing for attention and “seemed” suicidal. Abandoned cars. People pulled over on the side of the road and being “suspicious”…. as they talked on their cell phones for 20 minutes. Drunks staggering down the shoulder of the road. More loud music calls. Crappy radios… “it’s the heat” “it’s the cold” “it’s the fog” “it’s the rain” < reasons for crappy radio transmissions. Units chomping at the bits to join the CHP’s pursuit before it runs out of the county. It ran out of the county. Bar brawl, ambulance needed. Second ambulance needed. Laceration and “asthma” (panic) attack. Juvenile calling in and harassing the dispatchers. Vulgar. Threatening. Dozens of times. Not bright, we know who he is. Cookies in dispatch. Didn’t last long. Air unit doing patrol checks. Three at a time. Put him on one, take him off. Update city unit that keyed up immediately after. Put air unit on second patrol check, take him off. Respond to deputy doing a traffic stop. Put air unit on last check, take him off. Answer the 9-1-1 line, because everybody else in the room is already on a phone. Lucky, just a quick transfer to CHP, off the phone quick. More loud music. How come we never do anything about it?? I’ve called a bunch of times! No, I don’t want contact, just make them stop! Direct the young lady who has decided at 6:30 pm on a Friday that she’d like information on becoming a police officer to call back Monday during business hours to talk to somebody about it. Another party! I have to get up at 4am! Racing vehicles… give it to CHP. Send a deputy to assist CHP, because the car they stopped has a fight between a man and woman in progress. Burglar alarms sounding, owners will only respond if it’s an actual burglary. I just got home, and I was robbed! The tweeker is not sure what’s missing, but they’re sure something was taken. It’s Friday night, the teenager has been missing since Wednesday morning, but we better go ahead and report it now.
etc.
etc.
etc.
Man, I love my job!

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

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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