Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy 100

Can you believe it?  This is #100 of my blogs.  Took me three years of sporadic writing, but it is a goal worthy of notice.

I mean, they make a big deal when a show makes 100 episodes.  So why not my blog?

Okay, now the quandry begins.  What should the subject matter of this momentous occasion be?  Should I reiterate something already mentioned?  Or a review of the last 100 entries?  A new topic to explore and discuss?

Literally, I sat for over a week trying to think of something truly worthy of this (narcissistic?) occassion.  And then it was dropped into my lap, courtesy of my niece.

She has approached me for guidance and mentoring as she embarks on a path towards becoming a police officer.  Say What!?!?

She has seen first hand the hardships on the person and the family through my husband.  Her grandfather was a motorcycle cop for several years and has talked about the problems of being an officer.  She has listened to me badmouth and cry over some of my experiences as a dispatcher.

But due to a personal experience (well, actually two) of them in her recent past (she's over 21), she feels the calling.  Yes, a calling.

So I will support her and mentor where I can.  Hubby is already onboard and giving her some suggestions and points to study.

A calling.  Wow.  Pretty heavy thought.  I related it to her like what a priest or a nun must feel, they are drawn into religious service.  And she said that is how it feels.

She sees herself in a position of helping.  Not serving people through nursing, which her grandparents would prefer, but in public service as an officer.  Still seeing people at their worst, like a nurse would, but with far fewer and far in between thank you's and smiles as an officer.  In nursing she would see first hand the benefits of her care.  As an officer she would hopefully get to see the benefit of her attention to detail and safety be reflected in the saving of a life.

As an officer she would be front line of witnessing people at their lowest and worst moments of their lives. 

As an officer she will be watching first hand the results of poor judgement and an attitude of not caring. 

As an officer she will have her decisions and actions questioned by people with no understanding of the job or by superior officers who have the benefit of making decisions with all the information later.

As an officer she will deal with being a not just a spectator of life theatre but who will also have a walk-on part with no script to follow, just working off pure instinct and training.

As an officer she will have the golden opportunity to show people there are choices in life one can make to better themselves along with their community.

As an officer she will have the sweetest of chances to touch and improve the outlook for a child who is victim of the adult in their life.

As an officer she can exemplify what is right and good in a female officer that can offer her department and community a special insight of good choices and follow through.

As an officer she can make herself and her family proud.

Go girl.  Auntie got your back.

And remember to be very very good to your dispatchers.  (Yes, a long lecture was delivered on this subject already.)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Policies and Procedures

All agencies have Policies and Procedures.  Supposedly so everyone knows their responsibility and actions demanded of them in any given call for service or request.  Much is common sense, some you think were written by a juvenile chimpanzee.

With regards to the release of reports.  Why do citizens yell (literally) in the lobby when demanding a copy of a report and told there are procedures in the request? 

With our agency you make a written request, pay a fee, the request is reviewed and either approved or not approved.  If approved, our records clerk then makes a copy and sends it to the requester.

The list of those who can get a copy of a report basically have to have their name somewhere in the report.  Either as a directly involved party or registered owner of the vehicle involved, or listed in some manner. 

But lately it seems "others" have been requesting reports where they aren't mentioned and very upset when denied.  Or the man who created a huge scene in the lobby trying to get a copy of a report of a police action his son was involved in.  His "of age" son.  Son wouldn't tell him the w-h-o-l-e story.

What happened to the right of privacy?  What happened to kids, even grown kids, telling parents the whole story since they are asking for the parents help?  What happened to insurance companies making the requests and now having their customers do all their leg work?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Lately the topic of retirement has been popping up.

There are two dispatchers who are eligible for retirement now, one having already given a date in January 2013.  The other (who is so burnt out and so crabby because of it) keeps saying she plans to retire before the end of 2013 but worried about having the money to support herself and all her four-legged menagerie.  (Even with our pay cuts, she has the money because at a weak moment she talked about her finances, telling me more than I really wanted to know.)

In the list of older dispatchers, I would be next.  Ouch. 

My hubby (I know, I know, I don't talk about him much here) can also retire any time he wants.  He wants to pay off his truck, three more years, and then set a retirement date.  He is involved with lots of non-home improvement projects. Actually, not putting in a 40+ hour work week will give him more time to be more involved in his community activities.

My mother-in-law made sure I learned from her lesson on personal and spouse retirement.  She retired first, had a routine with the house and garden, church mass, weekly hair appointment, bi-weekly lunch with best friend.  Then my father-in-law retired.  He was so use to working very long hours that when he no longer was punching a time clock, he really didn't know what to do.  He would follow her around the house, the garden, basically driving her nuts.  She told him to get a job for a few hours a week to get out of the house and out of her hair.

She instructed me to make sure hubby retired first, had a routine of activities, before I retired.  To save myself a lot of grief.

So that has been our plan for many years.  The biggest difference between hubby and his father is hubby is more involved in projects and service than his father was at time of retirement.  But will be sure he is fully integrated before I turn in my retirement date.

And now the pickle.

I'm in a quagmire of "this" or "that" when I think about retirement.  My retirement.

I have been working since 12 years old.  Paycheck jobs since age 16.  The only time I wasn't working regularly, or 40 hours a week, was when I was raising our family. I worked for a temp service, so I could work around the school and after school activities schedule and hubby's horrific work schedule.  But I was still putting in a lot of hours around the house and at the kids school.  Sometimes running a typing service on the side.  And always busy with a very large service club.

But a lot of things have changed over the last couple of years since hubby and I started making retirement plans and discussing our "wants" over the previous years.  Maybe because I am truly looking at a retirement date soon, for him and me, I am getting confused and worried.

I can already hear some voices saying, "Hey, you're looking at three years alone before hubby retires, and you plan to wait awhiles after his retirement to plan your own, why are you even stressing about it now?"

Like any good emergency plan, or long term investment plan, you have to think ahead and play the "what if's" game.  And because I know I will be officially retiring probably five years or so from now, I need to start preparation and planning, for reals.

What am I going to be doing with myself without having the call of a 40+ hour work week?

And need to truly think about what to do with my free time.  Which has just become very large.

Retirement - that word is getting to be high on my list of scary words.