Monday, June 22, 2009

Another Post About Dispatchers...

This was sort of inspired by a recent post over at Dispatcher X's blog, Behind the Mute Button.

I must say she made some very valid points, and we have some officers on our channel who like to show off in that manner. I dislike it, but that would be why I don't do it.

Anyway, we also have some dispatchers who enjoy trying to make officers look like asses on the air. Mostly without provocation. They just like to do it, it seems.

There are a few dispatchers who, when they are on my channel, I will not bother to run a license plate or driver license, I will not ask for details on a call, I will not ask them to do a single solitary thing on my behalf because I don't want to have to bite my tongue to avoid responding to them in the same snide and unprofessional manner in which they have spoken to me.

Mind you, I am very professional on the radio, just as in all other aspects of my job. I do not make offhand comments about how people are doing their jobs. I do not complain on the radio, that's what the telephone is for. If I am asking a question, it is because I do not have the information right in front of me.

I should not have to consider whether or not my dispatcher is going to be offended by my asking for a suspect description, vehicle information, or direction of flight. If the dispatcher doesn't have that information yet, they should just say "Stand by, we haven't got that yet." Thank you, I'll wait.

Instead, a few of our dispatchers will come off with "If I had that I'd have given it to you already." in an exceedingly rude tone. Most of our dispatchers are consummate professionals on the radio. I'm sure the comments get thrown across the room AFTER THE RADIO UNKEYS, but that is to be expected. I only have on air issues with a select few.

I understand dispatchers have a lot going on in their little cave, and they are trying to do a million things at the same time, working their eyes, ears, mouth, fingers and feet at the same time. I do not dispute that they are busy.

As I have said before, I highly value my dispatchers. Many times they are the only connection I have to the outside world, and that little voice in my ear is quite comforting when they are telling you the cavalry is on the way.

However, If I'm asking for information, I am doing so because it is important. I don't ask questions about suspect descriptions, direction of flight, or weapons used, just for my health.

On second thought, maybe I do...


TheBronze said...


Many of the the dispatchers at my last dept. (Smitty, you know the one)
now-a-days seem to be too wrapped up in Facebook, to get any work done.

I'm sure they're handling their business, but damn, they sure are on Facebook a lot when they're at work...

Front Porch Society said...

Totally agree and understand.

We have one dispatcher that is just not all upstairs. We will tell her we are 10-8 (back in service) but she will not acknowledge it nor does she put us as 10-8 on the computer screen. So here we are driving around still showing 10-7 (out of service/on a call) when we are not. Um, yeah. It's great.....

lessthantotal said...

Ahh Dispatchers. What a pleasure to be on vacation and not have to deal with them. We have "radio rick" who is one of the worst ever. Doesn't get any information, won't acknowledge you and never really has a handle on what is going on.

5150Wife said...

A good dispatcher can make all the difference in the world, particularly for departments who do not have in-car computers.

In Mayberry, they have Bitchy Dispatcher. Hubs says she keeps a nice big supply of pens & pencils close at hand. When an officer comes on & asks for a 43 while she's studying or watching TV, she screams "God#$%!it!" and throws her pen across the room. Picks up another pen or pencil and answers the call as attitude-laiden as she can muster. Even citizens out in scanner land have asked some of the officers what her problem is on the radio. Can't figure out why she doesn't just quit since she obviously hates her job so much.

I worked dispatch for 3 years and LOVED it. I'd go back to it in a heartbeat. Granted, it was for Campus Security, not certified LE so definitely a different animal.

This was back when my hubby was a CSO, before becoming a LEO. We used to joke that I told him where to go and what to do all day at work and then at home at night too. LOL

Anonymous said...

You made some fantastic points. There are bad apples I think on both sides and in the rush I suppose we (officers and dispatchers) might forget that we're both on the same side.

With the one sgt that I have an issue with, ironically enough he gave me a commendation once.

We have suggested routine required ride-a-longs for patrol and us as a way to maintain an understanding of the "other side" and what they deal with daily. Thanks to budget issues, there's no way in hell that will happen.

I think that, like officers, there's a certain group of folks that can put up with the daily garbage that PD offers. As far as the grouchy and unattentive dispatchers that don't want to help the officers, I agree they need to seriously consider giving their two weeks notice.

I had someone tell me once that I do too much, that our officers are adults and can handle making some of their own status changes. I disagree. The officers are MY customers and if they ask, well then I answer and help. Because if the garbage hits the fan, I need to know where to send the help.

Keep it up Officer Smith, as always, you are on top of my reading list as a good voice of reason (and humor!).

Front Porch Society said...

Dispatcher X:

Very true. Not all officers are very courteous on the radio either. I think it would be wise for both officers and dispatchers to spend a day in each other's shoes as a reminder that both have a hard job to do. :)
The new agency I hope to transfer to, in fact, requires all officers to be trained as dispatchers and are required to rotate giving dispatchers a break on each shift.

Anonymous said...

Officer's are my job security!

What ever they ask me to do.. I do it!

However, I have to send that request to someone else to do if I am to busy. I can't tell you how many times I hear that person assigned to that position comment under her breath "the officer doesn't know what he's talking about. I'm not doing that" and I get the reply she was unable to locate or contact for that request. Hogh wash!! Do your job!!

It angers me beyond belief.

That said, I also have officer's burn me over the air. Only to be followed by about half the other officers send me a reply about how much of a jerk or idiot he was for saying that. I love the notes guys!!

My reply - "I'm sure he's just having a bad day. Thanks!"

When I am on radio.. You all have my undivided attention.. Which is not always a good thing.. my average time when you hit the 'in service' button to getting you your next call is under 7 seconds. I'm not balancing my checkbook or working on my other business or planning my weekend. I'm working! Like a hawk keeping a lookout for the next 'I need the air' call out. Thats what I am paid for.

Now, the phone's are a totally different story! Inbetween calls is my personal time! If I get it!

MotorCop said...


I was gonna comment on the carpet bombing of comments on the 'mind your business' post. Laughing like f'n crazy that you disabled them. You are a patient, patient man. Keep up the good work!

Officer "Smith" said...


You have no idea...