Friday, December 12, 2008

Pet Peeve

Just want to sound off on a pet peeve against officers. (Like that doesn't happen regularly in this blog.) Listen up coppers: Don't try to dispatch from your vehicles!

Am so tired of an officer deciding what calls he wants to respond to or changing what units are responding to calls after I have dispatched them. Get a clue copper - it's not your job! It's mine. And if you doubt that, then look at our job descriptions.

Not only that, but you are too focused on what you want and don't want. I am looking at the whole picture. I see what needs to be handled. I am aware of priorities and how it works. I have an event monitor that tells me which units are closer than others, you don't. I know what officers are available and where they are located within the city.

So, you don't want to take the paper call. Would rather respond as a backup on a burglar alarm. Reality is, copper, I am in charge. You will respond where I say. Because the citizens has been waiting two hours to file that paper call you don't want and you wanting to fill on the burglar alarm so you can visit with your buddy when another officer is actually closer is just not going to happen.

And don't cop (no pun intended) an attitude when you are told "no" on the air. Hopefully the sergeant has been paying attention and backs me up. Or you try the sneaky thing by sending me messages over the computer telling me what you want to do. And then pretend you don't get my written reply of "no". Especially when you know it's a sergeant who understands, since you don't, that dispatchers tell officers where to go, not officers deciding where they go.

And just so you know, dear reader, this is the cleaned up version and third rewrite. My first draft was a very angry written discourse after almost two back to back episodes of this problem with the same officer. After checking for typos I realized that it was maybe just a bit (just a tiny bit) too harsh and point blank in my anger. So a bit of rewrite was called for. But then it sounded a bit namby pamby. So another rewrite and here it is.

And I wish I could feel better for writing it down. But I am smart enough to realize that the persons who need to read it won't be and probably wouldn't see themselves in it anyways. After all, they are the officers and they know more than any mere dispatcher.

6 comments:

Cst KO said...

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Thanks kenny

The Dispatcher and Her Officer said...

I totally agree.. I love the officer that takes every call I give him... no questions.. and then there's the officers that complain every time I dispatch them.. This isnt my beat isnt there a volunteer for this.. isnt there a community officer for this dont we have the other temp officer for this... . Hello!!!! If we did do you think you would have that call?? Its a citizen that needs HELP!!
-Dispatcher

Officer "Smith" said...

Don't take this the wrong way Tired. I'm not trying to say you're wrong (this is your blog after all, and your words are therefore gospel), and I'm not trying to offend you. I do however have some thoughts on this post.

Not sure what city you work in there Tired, but the only person who tells my patrol car where to go is me or my watch commander. When a dispatcher "tells an officer where to go" in my area, that dispatcher is likely to be told where to go themselves.

More importantly, dispatchers do not decide how I do my job. Department policy decides that. If I ask a dispatcher to route a traffic officer, or route the officer whose beat the detail is in, or ask a dispatcher to route a parking enforcement officer, it is because that is how my department policy proscribes that type of detail will be handled.

Don't get me wrong, I like most of my dispatchers, and I get along with all of them. I don't call a dispatcher out over the air. If I have a problem, I call on the telephone and deal with it in a businesslike manner.

I don't refuse to take calls, or tell the dispatcher to send someone else unless I have a very good reason. However, I have a better sense of what is actually happening out on the street, since I am not sitting in a room in another part of the city, or even a different city depending on the situation.

If I ask to be routed to a different call, it's not because I "don't want to take the paper call", or because I want to "hang out with my buddy after the call is over". It's more likely that I know something of the call I am asking for that you do not.

To clarify for your readers, I don't work in your city, and I am not the officer to whom you refer in your post, but when our dispatchers come across in the manner you describe, they develop a reputation with officers that is not likely to gain much cooperation. It's called being imperious, and it's not a quality you want to be labeled with as a dispatcher in my area. Maybe things are different in your city.

I'm sure you are very good at what you do, otherwise you wouldn't be doing it. And maybe I am misunderstanding your point, but I don't deal well with dispatchers who act the way you described.

tired.dispatcher said...

Officer "Smith",

When an officer asks to go to another call and tells me he knows the history at that location, that is one thing. When an officer purposedly changes or requests a call for service because he doesn't want to handle that vehicle or business burglary or other paper call, that is where I get angry. No where on his uniform does it say he only handles certain calls. A lesson to learn here.

Each side has their own opinion. I see officers only wanting certain "action" calls for service. You see an "imperious" dispatcher. I see it as doing my job. This is why officers need to spend some time in dispatch during their training and a couple hours during their year. They really have little idea on how tough our job is.

Officer "Smith" said...

Part of our field training program involves a "sit along" with dispatch. I've been there.

Kaden said...

Officer Smith, I know what Tired Dispatcher is talking about. As a dispatcher I was expected to put in at least 30 hours ride a long with an officer. A new officer puts in approximately two hours of sit a long. We have cadets and community service officers who are expected to handle the cold paper calls, like resid/busn/veh burgs, stolen veh recoveries, etc. I have several beat officers who will put themselves out on a traffic stop or area check JUST to get out of one of those paper calls. The officers will tell me to hold them for the next available cadet or cso. Doesn't matter to the officer that I only have 1 cadet and/or cso but have nine burgs and recoveries that need handling. Look at your badge. It doesn't say anything about you choosing your calls for service. The dispatcher (look at their title) says they tell you where to go. Sadly, Officer Smith, you proved Tired Dispatchers point of Officers thinking they know better ALL the time and dissing the dispatcher.