If you haven't heard about the Durkin Park incident then you're either been asleep in roll call or you seclude yourself from the lot of your coworkers. And it also means you haven't paid attention to the news.
You can see the Executive Director's official OEMC press conference on the matter at CLTV if you scroll down through the video panel. It's entitled "OEMC Durkin Park press conference."
You can also see an article in the Daily Southtown, yesterday's front page of which said very boldly that two 911 dispatchers have been suspended, which was incorrect. They've been placed on administrative leave with pay. At least we can say that they weren't stripped of their due process and immediately placed on suspension, the prospect of which had several people on the Ops Floor up in arms.
And of course NBC 5 joined in, since they're always the quickest to report on OEMC wrongdoings. You can read their latest article here, and see a video snippet here.
We don't know what else was or wasn't going on on the zone during the time of the incident, but we've worked Zone 6 and were amazed at just how busy it is, and how many things are going on at one time. It includes Districts 007 and 008. 007 is an absolute hellhole, and 008 is questionably the largest (geographically speaking) district in the city. 008 is so big that 10-sector cars don't respond to 30-sector jobs because the sectors are literally several miles apart.
It takes a certain skill level to work Zone 6 on a regular basis, and as with everything else in a public safety job, it's not recognized publicly. In fact, in the 12-year history of OEC, we have yet to see a news story where an employee was lauded for the job he/she did. Noone in public safety (except for the fire department and, occasionally, the police department) gets any kind of recognition in the public eye until something goes wrong. And unfortunately in this situation, things went horribly wrong.
We won't comment on the ongoing investigation, and we won't speculate on why the job didn't get put out, and we won't mention who the dispatchers are who were involved (and you won't either, not even by initials this time, no matter how poignant the rest of your comment is). But we ourselves are waiting to find out what was going on that kept the call from going out before it did. We're hoping that the PCO IIs will have solid reasoning for their sake (and for the sake of all of us, indirectly). But we're honestly befuddled.
And we ALL know that they're going to be used as examples. So are the supervisors who are being investigated (you won't name or initial them, either). In the NBC 5 video snippet from the community meeting following the incident, the executive director is quoted as saying:
I'm very unhappy with the way the dispatchers handled the situation.Huh? Excuse us? We must have missed the whole part about how the situation is under investigation, and no determination is being made until the investigation is completed. We must have also missed the whole "apparently handled" disclaimer that would give an indication that "No, we haven't already decided that you're fucked."
The crowd broke into applause immediately following that statement by the E.D. Of course they're going to love it when even the boss of the people they're blaming sides with them. We imagined the whole huge crowd turning into vampires lusting after the blood of the PCO IIs, and breaking through the ceiling to fly across the city to find them. Maybe that's why NBC cut the scene so abruptly.
We also believe we missed the outrage over these teens who run rampant through the neighborhood wreaking havoc, and the explanation for where the hell their parents were and why they didn't know that their children were involved an what's been described as a riot at 10:15 at night. That could be because the news focused on hanging dispatchers, but who knows.
Where the hell were the parents? How long has this problem been going on? How aware/unaware of it were district personnel? Are we too stupid/too naive/too quick to sweep things under the rug, to face the apparent racial motivation for the attack here? Why the hell, when sergeants can (and do) monitor pending events as they're supposed to, they can tell dispatchers "Event number such&such is a 19P/5P" but were just nowhere to be heard when all of these calls came in about 8445 S. Kolin? It smacks of traffic pursuits where we almost had to redline sergeants because noone would answer up for the notification thereof.
But we digress. We're not trying to render the PCOs blameless, but we are trying to touch on points that the media neglects to keep the shock value of their story.
Also quoted from the E.D.:
When these investigations are concluded, we will issue appropriate discipline, possible termination.You hear that, people? You're being watched (moreso than you know, more on that later). You're being scrutinized. You're in a position where you can play a major role in whether or not someone lives or dies. You're in a position where if something goes wrong and police/fire/OEC administration can pin the blame on you, you're up the creek without a paddle. We tend to get complacent with the day-in-day-outs of the job, and forget all of these things. It's the same thing every day, the same calls, the same people calling. And we get tired and frustrated. And our Giving-A-Damn meter falls into limbo. Complacency kills. It could kill a citizen, which in turn would kill your career.
We're not saying to internalize the job, and take it home with you. Not by any means, it would be hypocritical (you'll notice this is the first blog update in weeks, because we try to leave the job at the job). What we're saying is cover/watch your ass. Those PCOs we're all feeling worried for? It's going to be one of us next time.
And there WILL be a next time. Trust us.
And head over to Second City Cop. Lot of comments on their post about the topic.