Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Little Information Out There

Another example of how law enforcement dispatchers are the non-studied under-appreciated ugly stepchild of law enforcement. Wanted to do a little research on weight(y) issues and health issues that are prevalent with our jobs.

The only dispatchers I know who are slim after several years sitting behind a console with headset "umbilical cord" to the boards are those that just can't gain weight and those that work out an hour or two 6-7 days a week. (Who has the time for that? I'm lucky to get in two visits a week to the gym.)

There are even fewer dispatchers who don't get differing levels of carpel-tunnel or arthritis in their hands and elbows after typing millions of words a month during their shifts. Or the headaches from looking at and working with computer screen(s) for hours on end.

But if you Google or Bing "dispatcher + health" or "dispatcher + weight", what you DON'T find are articles pertaining to our unique job.

But change out dispatcher for officer and your reading choices are wide and varied.

I read an article many years ago that stated the Federal Government considered public safety dispatchers (PD/FD/EMS) were the second most stressful job, only behind traffic controlers. LEO's were number six.

Maybe because the public sees an officer, can put a name and face with the voice and actions, officers seem "more real" than the voice on the other end of the phone asking questions and trying to help.

Clearly, we need to hire a public relations firm and our own press agent to publicize all we do. Maybe we can get our own reality show, any title suggestions?

Maybe what we need to do is to start sharing information with each other. Be our own researchers and publishers of information. Clearly the psychology and health and physical research arenas don't find us interesting enough to delve into further. In those fields I understand it is "publish or perish". Guess we're not good enough material fodder.

But they would be so so so very wrong. Am I right?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

PTSD Notes For Self

Yes, continuing to explore this issue. It explains so much about my sleeping issues and inability to turn off my mind. And maybe why I am reacting to certain issues in my life and at work with such physical trauma I now have an ulcer to deal with.

Information from Mayo Clinic Website:

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms can come and go. (Not too sure when it's gone. When it goes. Seems like I am raw all the time. Just there are moments under better control than others.)

You may have more post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms when things are stressful in general, or when you run into reminders of what you went through. (OK, makes sense. Since what caused the trauma was my work, and I continue to work in the field (though not the same location/agency) is perhaps why the PTSD never seems to fully go away.)

When to see a doctor:
It's normal to have a wide range of feelings and emotions after a traumatic event. You might experience fear and anxiety (Yeppers), a lack of focus (At the wierdest times, too), sadness, changes in how well you sleep (Doesn't happen unless am heavily medicated) or how much you eat, or crying spells that catch you off guard. You may have nightmares or be unable to stop thinking about the event (Replay converstaions and/or radio traffic over and over, thinking of what I wish I had asked/said or tell them to f*** off).

This doesn't mean you have post-traumatic stress disorder. (Say what???)

But if you have these disturbing thoughts and feelings for more than a month, if they're severe, or if you feel you're having trouble getting your life back under control, talk to your health care professional. Getting treatment as soon as possible can help prevent PTSD symptoms from getting worse.

Guess it's time for counseling again. Had really hoped changing agencies would rid me of the "if's" and "ughs". It has decreased, but still a bit of an issue. Of course, all the drama at home isn't helping either. If it ain't one thing it's another. Who plays of who? Home vs Work or Work vs Home? Both are my lives, but both cause me grief.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How Wrong Is This?

Had to share this article. Because it is soooo wrong on sooo many levels. A man trying to help his community and drug cartel kills him for it. Citizens are using anonymous connections in social media and it still gets them killed. Where does it stop? When does the nation of citizens finally put their foot down and say enough is enough? Drug cartels are running and ruining the country. Theirs and ours. Makes me wonder how long before this form of "retribution" makes it way north.

Man Killed In Mexico For Social Media Comments
Published November 10, 2011
Fox News Latino

Mexican police found the decapitated body of a man left in the border city of Nuevo Laredo Wednesday at the same monument where the corpse of a woman purportedly killed in retaliation for her postings on an anti-crime website had been left previously, authorities said.
A photo of the scene indicates the man was killed for reporting criminals on social media sites, raising fears drug cartels are increasingly targeting bloggers.

Police found the body at a monument on one of the city's main thoroughfares, said a Tamaulipas state investigator who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to discuss the case.

The officer wouldn't discuss the content of the message but a photograph of the scene posted on a blog shows a handcuffed man lying on his belly on top of a bloodstained message and a chopped head nearby. The message reads "this happened to me for not understanding that I shouldn't report things on the social networks."

The message claimed the man, identified by his nickname "Rascatripas" or "Belly Scratcher," was a moderator of "Nuevo Laredo en Vivo," a website used by the city's residents to denounce crime and warn each other about drug cartel gunfights and roadblocks.

The gruesome killing may be the fourth since September in which people in Nuevo Laredo were killed by a drug cartel for what they said on the Internet.

The decapitated body of Maria Elizabeth Macías, "La Nena de Laredo," or "Laredo Girl," was found at the site in September with a message that said she was killed for her reports on the website. That message was signed with the letter "Z," which refers to the violent Zetas drug cartel.

Earlier that month, the bodies of a man and a woman were found hanging from an overpass in Nuevo Laredo with a message threatening, "this is what will happen" to trouble-making Internet users and also signed with a "Z."

The Zetas have dominated Nuevo Laredo, located across the border from Laredo, Texas, for years.

"Nuevo Laredo en Vivo" has a message acknowledging Macías was a contributor and lauding her courage.

Chat messages on the website show a user with the nickname of "Rascatripas" commented Monday afternoon about the dangers of traveling on a riverside highway that connects Nuevo Laredo to Ciudad Mier.

We're seeing that the war in Mexico it's not only about gaining control of the streets but also controlling information.

Carlos Lauria, senior program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists
Whether the unidentified man found Wednesday at a monument to Christopher Columbus contributed to the website it's unclear.

"We have no way of confirming whether he is the person who was killed because we're all anonymous," said a Tweet by "Nuevo Laredo en Vivo" in response to a request for comment by The Associated Press.

With local newspapers forced to avoid crime reporting by threats in many border cities Mexicans have increasingly turned to local online chat sites like "Nuevo Laredo en Vivo" to report and read about cartel activity. The site includes numbers to phone in tips to police and the military.

"We're seeing that the war in Mexico it's not only about gaining control of the streets but also controlling information," said Carlos Lauria, the Americas senior program coordinator for the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. "This is no longer a problem that affects just one group, for example journalists, but it affects anyone who informs ... this is putting Mexico's democracy at risk."

Users of "Nuevo Laredo en Vivo" wowed to continue reporting criminals to authorities.
"Those guys think they are so smart. They want to spread fear," wrote a user identified as Anon5218 Wednesday night. "As long as no one confirms Rasca was an honest citizen, let's leave it as a doubt and continue on."

Based on reporting by the Associated Press. Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2011/11/10/man-killed-in-mexico-for-social-media-comments/?test=latestnews#ixzz1dJXi1vT6

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I started this blog under a pseudonym because I wanted the freedom to write what I was thinking and feeling without fear of someone reading it and suing me over my stated opinions. I needed a safe place to vent my frustrations and head-shaking work moments that come from those I serve and those I share work space with.

If you're a blogger you have heard about those frivolous and painful lawsuits over your freedom of speech (though may be guaranteed under the First Amendment, if it "hurts" the feelings or reputation of the person you're upset about or at, it is no longer a protected right).

But the name, "Tired Dispatcher", has become a much larger identity. It has given me a second persona to explore and utilize. I find myself freely commenting on news articles because I can do so not as me, the wife-mother-grandmother-police dispatcher-community activist-student-etc, but as someone who has the ability to state their take on the issue and/or article and/or person as "Tired Dispatcher".

Being nameless-unknown-mysterious (maybe?) I can give voice to thoughts and opinions as dispatchers we are not permitted. Like an officer, we have to be neutral, as much as possible. We may not agree with your life choices, but you still have rights issued by law makers we must enforce evenly across the board and array of citizens we are hired to serve.

It is not easy to always remember that component of our job description. Well, that unwritten rule in the game of law enforcement.

We are not a judge who can sit back and Monday-morning quarterback and take the time to look up the legal issues and precedents on the issues.

We are not law makers who craft rules of behavior or permissions based on our highest money-making benefactor whims.

We are public servants who must enforce the good and not-so-good laws to all and sundry. Our opinions on the laws or on the people who get caught up in the illegal activities net are not suppose to matter, but just be dealt with in an even-handed manner.

Okay, okay. I can see how the eyebrows are raising. But truly, that is our intent. And it isn't easy. Our life experiences can sometimes color our tones of voice or manner in which we handle an ugly situation. We are, after all, powered by a specialized body fluid called blood, not oil. And thus, sometimes, the pressure of that precious life-giving fluid will rise and fall, boil or turn to ice, many times based on our pasts experiences and feelings and sentiments.

I may not have the freedom to voice my frustrations and share my laughable moments as ______ (haha - still anonymous), but as Tired Dispatcher? Hear me roar!