Scratchy Glitter

Observations for the easily irritated.

Tag: Police officer

Guaranteed Earworm

Listen to “Istanbul Not Constantinople” by They Might Be Giants. I guarantee you won’t be able to get it out of your head.

CRISIS? IN PROGRESS?

I forgot to check back and see what the deal was with the guy hitchhiking, wearing a sheet. Was he Casper, or the Klan? I guess the Klan would be the Unfriendly Ghost.

I’M NOT AT WORK, I’M AT THORNTON’S

…well, not at this moment. Posting to the blog from my phone is too aggravating to contemplate, and if you’ve ever been the recipient of text messages from me, you’d agree. Anyway, while at Thornton’s, as is my custom, I pestered several officers by introducing myself. I miss working at the police station and knowing them all, so this is the best I can do. To make it worse, I really (I mean really) have a problem remembering faces I haven’t seen very often, so I fear I’ve introduced myself to some of them more than once. The highlight of today’s visit was surprising an officer about to use the women’s room, because, as he shamefacedly pointed out, “Some guy has been in the men’s room for 20 minutes.” And no, I won’t tell you which officer it was, because who among us has not done the same in our time of need?

YA GOTTA LOVE HIM, IT’S REQUIRED BY LAW

–“I bathe in the blood of the innocent and the tears of the fallen.”

–Nick

He’s almost Shakespearean, isn’t he? Including his preferred hairstyle.

Keeping a Low Profile

“You are the absolute worst, madame,” Nick growled. He had come sniffing around because my cash-for-nothing scheme had intrigued him.

“I told you, you’re not eligible. And I was planning to write this post on a completely different topic.”

“There’s no amount of cash that could keep us apart, ” he continued, ignoring my objection. “And you can’t buy your way out of our ride-along with money.”

This gave me pause. Frankly, that possibility had not occurred to me. (It was like when I was a child and faced with fried eggs–slimy and loathsome as they are–and my stepfather said, “Don’t try pushing them around on your plate and then telling me you finished them.” I hadn’t thought of that, but I tried it and it worked!)

“So you’re saying that–under the right circumstances–you could be bought off? Beast, stop sharpening your claws like that. It’s distracting, and didn’t your owner tell you to quit ripping up the furniture?”

“She didn’t say anything about your furniture. Or the furniture in Dispatch. Or–” I swatted at him, and he jumped back, hissing and flaring his wings. Really, the level of taming here leaves something to be desired.

To make a troubling story short, I attempted a bit of bargaining on this ride-along issue, and was met with an absolute refusal to negotiate. So, if he’s going to be all merciless and stuff, I am just going to lay low for awhile, because we will soon be fully-staffed, and able to spare people for ride-alongs and such, but we all know that if you ignore something, it–or he–will go away. The next post will, as I said, be on a different topic. Something less disturbing. Namely, cat terminology and old country sayings. All together now–What old country? Any old country!

The Enemy of Everyone, To Be Considered Sarcastic and Dangerous

English: My hazel eyes

English: My hazel eyes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How about that ornate title? I quite like it. Of course, I’m determined to be a flat-out failure where writing is concerned, but my motto here is, “It’s not your job, don’t deal with it.”

And you gotta love a job where you answer the phone, and the first thing she says is, “Are you gonna help me, or do I hafta file charges on you?” It occurred to me that filing charges on myself would make for an interesting run card: “Be on the lookout for a white female, brown hair and hazel eyes, cobra tattoo on left forearm, wearing glasses, blue top, black pants. Alert: has been known to make hostile remarks toward police officers.” Suppressing the immediate urge to hang up on her (now there’s a different kind of 911 hangup), I inquired about the nature of her problem. She was being held against her will at the hospital. Turns out that this was because she had warrants in an adjoining county. Now, I believe that being held against your will is the very essence of being arrested. I’ve never been arrested myself, but I believe that’s how it works. (“I could demonstrate it for you,” says Nick, with seeming nonchalance.) (For the record, the closest I’ve come to having a Run-In with the Law was the current Sgt. but then Officer W.W. yelling, “I should write you a ticket!” as I sauntered in front of his squad car in the middle of the block once. I guess that counts as a verbal warning. {You know, it’s starting to sound like I jaywalk all the time, particularly in front of the police.} Said W.W. also, when Dispatch was downtown, stopped by the Radio window and asked me to make a phone call for him, when I was already on the phone to someone else. I silently handed him the phone book, and he yelled, “You’re supposed to be a support service!” and stormed off down the hall. And he should know, because he started out as a dispatcher. One of the radio speakers downtown had a dent in it where he’d lost his temper once and punched it. Or so I was told–that was before my time. {I actually got along pretty well with W.W., in spite of these occasional spats.} Is there a pattern of emotional immaturity among officers who used to be dispatchers?)

Speaking of which, note to self: When working city dispatch, be sure to keep Nick out of the rain, or his finish will corrode.

–Just remember: If you need help, call 911, “…and please yell at me while I’m trying to solve your problems.”–the Tragically-Hip One

Happy belated birthday wishes to L.L. (I actually wished her a happy birthday in a timely manner, but it’s belated here.) I’m guessing it was the coolest birthday (temperature-wise) you’ve ever experienced.

Crisis in Progress: Enter At Your Own Risk

WARNING: CONTENT NOT HUMOROUS

At the risk of alienating some people (but not much risk, since I doubt those people read this), I am going to engage in old-fashioned C.I.P. rabble-rousing. (Not to imply you all are rabble, you understand.)

This rant deals with “2nd Shift Happenings,” as a sergeant called them in his informative email, over the past couple days.

First: If a department has so many extra grant cars working that I can’t grab enough air time between their traffic stops to dispatch runs, that is a problem. They need their own dispatcher. And I’m not interested in hearing that there’s no money to pay a dispatcher overtime to do that. There was enough money to pay those four deputies overtime.

On to more delicate matters. There were two different incidents which are reflections of the same basic problem. (Unlike the above situation, I was not the person directly affected by either of these.)

–A run was taken, and dispatched, according to police department SOP for an incident not in progress. (It had occurred two hours previously.) A sergeant criticized the dispatcher ON THE AIR, for not handling it as if it were in progress, and a sergeant stated in his end-of-shift email on the incident that “Officers were initially unable to locate the suspect because the run had been held {for six minutes} prior to being dispatched.” As one of us remarked afterwards, if that run had been handled as an in-progress emergency, and an officer had been involved in a wreck going code 3 to the scene, the sergeant would have said,”Why was that run given out as high priority? It occurred 2 hours ago.”

And, another entry in the can’t-win-for-losing category: An off-duty officer called in on the phone that he had seen a couple arguing in a car. There were no cars available at the time to give this run to, so the information was put out as a BOL, in case any officer should happen to see it while enroute to another run. The off-duty officer became irate that the run hadn’t actually been given to a car and said to the dispatcher on the phone, “Don’t you know what disorderly conduct is?” EXCUSE ME? She was going the extra mile in getting that information out on the air at all, considering we had no one available to send. Can you imagine one of us making that snotty remark to an officer? No, you cannot. Which brings me to…

THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM: I tend toward paranoia, so my reaction may be disproportionate. But this type of problem keeps recurring, and I sometimes get the feeling that there is a culture of contempt for dispatchers among officers, that is often hidden or even subconscious, but bubbles up to the surface intermittently. I remember an officer encouraging a family member to apply for a job at Dispatch, saying it should be easy, because “all they do is talk and type.” (This family member did not make it successfully through our training, as I recall.) I recall a rookie officer picking up my paycheck stub, studying it, and saying, “That’s a lot of money to do this job.”

I know that if you complain this much, you should also offer a solution. (I think of  my stepfather, telling me, “You kids just want to tear things down, but you never say how to build them up.” He was accusing me of being some kind of communist, when I was actually a wild-eyed Ayn Rand capitalist at the time.) I have no solution. There may not be one. When I started, and there were still a few officers in ye olde Radio Room downtown, an assignment to said room was considered punishment detail, which no red-blooded police officer would voluntarily undertake. Then they discovered that lower-paid and lesser breed of being, the civilian dispatcher, who took on the unwanted tasks of taking calls and talking on the radio, freeing them to do Important Stuff. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Yes, I know I’m stirring up and/or prolonging resentment, and I should just let it go. But I’m not good at letting things go, and sometimes I get tired of trying. I should probably let this post wait awhile and re-read it before I hit “Publish,” but let’s just run with scissors, shall we?

911 Emergency dispatch centers (Police)

911 Emergency dispatch centers (Police) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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