Yes, we are front line. Just because people don't see our faces, we are considered unworthy of the positive attention and support and respect of our own administration and the public we serve.
It is a truly horrific part of our job. I have lived through a few calls/events that have really left me shaken and upset, but because I wasn't directly on the scene I was not part of the debriefing or even permitted the opportunity to take the rest of the shift off to decompress, while the uniformed counterpart was given a week off with pay and/or given support to "deal" with the trauma of the call.
I have been briefly talking about PTSD. It is a new topic I am exploring. And I just went off on a tangent about the lack of tie in between PTSD and dispatchers. But I am allll fired up again.
I took Tired Dispatcher to Facebook to look for more PTSD information and to join dispatcher support pages, etc. Amongst my searching I found a Police Officers and PTSD support page. I sent in my request to join. Got reply asking if I was a police officer. Said no, just long time dispatcher who is dealing with work related PTSD. Got reply that the support page is for law enforcement officers only.
ONLY???? Excuse me???? Am I not part of the law enforcement community??? Am I not privey to the traumas and dramas of the commuity I serve? Do I not hear the stories and the crying and the shots fired? Do I not send officers to be shot at, monitor when in pursuit, send backup, an ambulance, a coroner when needed?
And because I sit behind a microphone or telephone I am not worthy of the same respect, support or help than my uniformed counterpart.