Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weighty Issues

Recently read an article written by an officer who complained about the weight of most Dispatchers. That their poor eating habits and lack of exercise makes them overweight. He finds it disgusting. After all, the officers exercise on their breaks.

Hmmm.... clearly this officer does not know the reality of an average and commonly found dispatch center. Let's see if I can explain it in simple enough terms even an officer can understand. Not that it is an excuse, but just trying to educate the insensitive-overabundance of free time available-badge carrying officer. (I originally typed in 'knuckle dragging' but thought it would be a little hardhearted, even if fairly accurate.)

Many agencies have a form of wellness program to encourage officers to keep healthy and trim with incentive programs like extra pay for weight loss and/or extra vacation time for attending seminars on health issues and/or easy and free access to gym equipment and the time to make use of the conditioning toys. Their mindset being that officers are what the general public see, thus they want a good image representing the agency and government that runs them.

Reality is, Dispatchers are locked in rooms (supposedly for their safety-another future blog moment) listening for hour on hour of peoples woes, typing reports, assisting officers (and listening to their moans of woes) where freedom of movement is usually greatly limited by umbilical cords known as headsets plugged into phone and radio stations and the size of the dispatch center. Many don't have work stations that are adjustable so they can stand at least part of their work day so they can get off their widening sitting ends from chairs not meant for 24/7 butts. The second agency I worked for had such a small dispatch room I could literally touch the dispatch board and the public access window but stretching out my arms.

Some law enforcement agencies do not make the department gym available to their non-sworn personnel. Dispatchers in some agencies have to eat their meal breaks at their stations due to lack of relief (which means an officer willing to raise himself up to the task of helping) available. Which usually means a microwave may not be handy to warm up healthy leftovers or frozen meal. So it is easier to order in food, usually not the most healthiest. And why do you think couch potatoes have such full figures? Because it is something innate in the human biology that we snack when sitting on our cabooses for any length of time, Dispatchers listen to their inner voice (separate from the voices they hear in their heads) saying "eat - snack" when sitting for eight to sixteen hours at a time.

To the officer who wrote the slamming-uneducated-ignorant showing article about Dispatch and their weighty girths, try to spend a little time in learning the realities of a job before speaking with so many words of so little you know so as not to show the world your lack of knowledge and empathy. And hope one of your Dispatchers don't read your tired words and take offense and prove to you that the power is in the mind and the Dispatch Center by making you actually work and respond to paper call to paper call without being able to take a thirty minute meal break and the workout time you get on your work day.


The Dispatcher and Her Officer said...

Im sitting here starving!! waiting for my break to eat my half a piece of toast!!

Seriously Don't mess with a dispatcher dude!!! Its like saying all cops do nothing but hang out at a donut shop!!! (oh those sound really good right now!)

Some of us actually work really hard at keeping this weight that lurks at the door to the center looking for its next victim to plop onto - off!!!

I have personally begged to be apart of the weight programs they have .. Even saying I would do it for FREE!!! I was denied!!

So left to my own--- I walk and run and bike... and lately... Pole Dancing!!

Ya, I'd like to see that officer take my pole dancing classes and twirl around the pole... Oh!!!! Maybe he could do the fireman twirl!!!


Evil Transport Lady said...

You should have kept the "knuckle drager" comment;)..He's a closed minded boob!

Also many EMS people are the same, it's so easy to become over-weight when working 12-18 hour shifts with just fast food as your only options.

That jerk needs to get a clue.

Liz said...

We just barely started having access to some kind of programs, although they have been city wide. Problem is that most of them were during the day which is rotten for us night-shifters. They are starting a "biggest loser" type deal now and some of the dispatchers are getting involved. One of my friends actually teaches boot camp classes in the morning!

It is hard when you sit all day. Fortunately with our new center we have consoles that raise and lower and the option for wireless headsets.

They should be careful too.....cranky and mean officers get the crappy calls, eh??? :-)