Chicago Dispatchers

Friday, July 20, 2007

Keep your damned criticism.

Well, the media's in our asses again. At least it's not the front page, but it's the editorial page of the Sun-Times. As usual, shock value and half-stories prevail. For those of you who are starting refusals to patronize media outlets (Good man/woman), we'll dice the editorial up into misinformed excerpts here. And they can take this information and print it in their rag.

It took an appalling 26 minutes for dispatchers to direct police to a bloody brawl.
Okay, that's already a known fact. What's not widely known is the reason(s) why. The investigation just began this week. You've printed that officials say it should be done within 30 days. Jumping the gun, perhaps?

Officials said the response time...should be 2 to 3 minutes.
Right, in spite of police department general orders that allow for 10 minutes to dispatch Priority 1 calls. In spite of the general citizen belief that in a city of 3,000,000+ citizens, there are enough police to address everyone's "issue" immediately. Keep believing misinformed "officials" who can't decide whether we take 57 million or 2 billion calls a year.

...Not everyone left adrift of the 911 system is so lucky. In 2002, [Ronyale White] call 911 four times before she was shot to death by her estranged husband.
And it was determined that the call was dispatched within the established time parameters. There was effectively no delay in the dispatch of that initial call, and it was officially determined that the officers who were dispatched within those time parameters did not respond in a timely manner. But all that information detracts from the mud-slinging aimed at us. [PCOs: We TELL you that if they can pin it on you, they will. Even if it's NOT your fault.]

Hundreds of 911 calls are made a day.
Really? Try thousands. On a busy day in the summer, we can easily surpass 20 thousand 911 calls in a 24-hour period. And on the best of days, there are less than 40 people assigned per hour to handle up to 1,200 calls in that hour.

Not to mention, what about your quotes of "57 million" and "2 billion" per year? 57 million calls a year is 156,000+ calls per day. But saying "hundreds" minimizes our jobs instead of acknowledging how much work we do well. Now that something's gone wrong, we're just pieces of shit to blame things on.

It would be unreasonable to expect a flawless performance by dispatchers and police. But there is no room for error when lives are at risk.
Then hire robots. You can't put stipulations on what should and shouldn't be flawless. Either you expect flawlessness or you don't. How can you admit unreasonable expectations, and in the next sentence say the opposite? Self-contradictory statements hold no water.

At the very least, there should be no second chances for dispatchers and police who compromise or undermine this system.
So then the policy should be "Revolving Door." You keep your job until you *allegedly* fuck up once. Then you're out the door to make room for the next sucker to hang around until he/she "fucks up" and gets thrown to the wolves. The 3rd Floor Atrium might as well have an alligator pit dug out in the middle of it.

We recall a time a couple of years back when CPD had a "Media Day" of sorts. When the media laid weeks of hell on the department for police shootings, CPD invited the media to do simulations at the range, and they found out that the job they were criticizing wasn't the simple task they assumed it to be.

And we think that OEC Administration should do the same. Invite the media to sit in with 911 calltakers and dispatchers and find out firsthand what a stressful, daunting job we undertake every day.

But that's a pipe dream. We'd have to be backed and not get "thrown under the bus." We'd have to be *believed in* and have someone on our side.

Labels: , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Really? Try thousands. On a busy day in the summer, we can easily surpass 20 thousand 911 calls in a 24-hour period."

not hardly. surpass 20,000 event numbers? yes, but not calls. Think of all the ridiculous event numbers for missions, traffic stops, premise checks, pods, etc. Those could very well account for 1/3 of those event numbers bring it to event #20000, which has been coming in every night at around 8-8:30pm lately.

21 July, 2007 04:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the busiest day from last year for calls to 911, just calls and not events for traffic stops and such was just a hair over 25,000 calls to 911... so, yeah, we can surpass 20K calls in a day

21 July, 2007 08:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

blog author,
why don't you name the person making the dumb comments and give proper credit, instead of just generalizing and refering to 'oec administration', haven't you heard what occurred at the durkin park meeting, have you seen the interviews of the executive director played by the news media, when you do, you can then put the blame where it belongs, this rush to crucify is being led by the new guy, ruiz, a frickin lineman supposedly without any formal education and a political puppet, and some invisible man named zowfell, being directed from behind the scenes by the napoleon on the 5th floor of city hall, our two sisters are going to be fired, plain and simple, it doesn't matter what the investigation shows. solidarity. everyone should call rankins and cooper and express rightful outrage.

21 July, 2007 15:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They're not fired yet. Don't give up the faith on them.
We can be very loud, we have alot of control and the brass knows it. We need to stand united.
We need to follow the rules. CAPS rules. Sink this ship! They want to rag about delay of dispatching, well they wrote the rules on it.CAPS ,, the people wanted to play police now they got it!
I hope some reporter is reading this. With all the Priority 1a jobs pending, if just one call for help and someone died due to the crime and it was not dispatched , but they saw that the job with 50 calls on it got dispatched just because there were 50 calls on it. The dispatchers would be hung for not following caps and giving out the oldest job first,, and the 50 calls wouldn't be a leg to stand on in self defense. So it's a catch 22 either way ... blame the dispatcher for the lack of manpower. WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH POLICE AND WE CAN'T TELL THESE PEOPLE NO. WE ARE NOT SENDING. IT'S NOT AN EMERGENCY. NO YOU CANNOT BE A VICTIM AND BE ANNONYMOUS.NO NO NO NOT GETTING THE PROPER CHANGE AT THE STORE IS NOT A POLICE MATTER. YOU GOT COLD FRIES, IS NOT A POLICE MATTER.

21 July, 2007 15:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's bad enough that the media is crucifying our fellow PCOII's for this incident. What's even worse is our own management is not standing behind them either. The shame of it all, is that you, their co-workers are hanging them out to dry as well. This could have easily been YOU. Remember that! Stick together, for once people, STICK TOGETHER!

21 July, 2007 15:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instead of the long diabtribe, just call it for what it was - a screw up of major proportions. Learn from your mistakes.

21 July, 2007 15:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


There are not a whole lot of people generally, not a whole lot of dispatchers even, that can say they have sat down on zone 6 on Saturday nights in the summer regularly since the OEMC opened. Regularly being the key word.

Most people who sat there screwed it up beyond words until the bosses had them removed. Remember those days?

The number of people who have any insight into how difficult that zone is on a Saturday night in July is about 20 or 30 tops. Thats how many dispatchers have been regularly assigned there, and handled it well, since the early 90s. And even that is a high estimate.

And that 20 or 30 includes the 2 being accused now. Unless you are one of the ones who could sit there and handle it well without having a heart attack, shut the fuck up. Because I was one of those who sat there.

And of those few who I've ever sat with who could handle it, and handle it well, I cannot think of a single one who would think for one second that this could or should be second guessed.

We have all seen stuff like this happen before. And we've seen 10 or 100 times worse when they would put a know-it-all or newby on the zone, only to see it go to hell in less than one hour.

So, again, if you aren't one of the few who has sat there and handled it well for a period in the last 20 years, than you shouldn't even think to second guess what happened on that zoo. And if you were one of the few who has sat there and handled it well for a period in the last 20 years, you wouldn't think to second guess what happened.

I can't wait to see what happens here. Because if they touch a hair on the heads of these two, I'm going to be real surprised if they can ever find anyone to willingly work zone 6, first watch again.

This is the thanks you get for taking the most difficult assignment in the room. Well a big FUCK YOU to the city for trying to put this on the heads of the first watch nobodies.

21 July, 2007 16:22  
Blogger CPDDispatch said...

Instead of the long diabtribe(sic), just call it for what it was - a screw up of major proportions. Learn from your mistakes.

You know what? When and if it's your ass next time who gets taken through the wringer, we'll see who keeps the "Learn from your mistakes" mentality. What opportunity do you have to apply newly-gained knowledge if you're looking at possible termination? If there's no second chance then "Learning from your mistakes" is moot. *If* you're a PCO? Then show some compassion, they don't have anyone else to be on their side but us. Unless, of course, you're omnipotent and omniscient and have never made the slightest error during the performance of your duties (we *all* have, and it's generally gone unnoticed, though some people tend to forget that), then please. Shut the fuck up unless you're going to be better than the media and not hang your coworkers. Again, if you are a coworker.

21 July, 2007 18:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


21 July, 2007 18:09  
Anonymous CPD Dispatch Has Gotten Out of Hand said...

You have to be kidding. The only stressful portion is when you guys are waiting and your relief doesnt show up early enough for you. You had someone screaming on the phone you'd just ignore it till they quieted down.
When I was a dispatcher you'd yell at the calltaker for sending over the ridiculous job. You didnt keep coming up on pedal every 5 seconds in a chase asking where they were, because you knew the copper was doing something a little more important than talking to you.

Now almost every call is anonymous, it used to be only gangs and sellings would be asked about that.
Dispatchers argue with the copper or dont answer them because of some old grudge.

I cant blame co-workers hanging each other out. You all think the job's about you now. It isnt. Get over yourselves and learn we're part of a system that there to support other city agencies.

23 July, 2007 01:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to: 21 July, 2007 18:09


You apparently sir or ma'am, have no friends. Are you that bitter that you actually think that way of your co-workers? Yes, SOME dispatcher act that way but it's not a majority at all. Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups and you're assuming way to much. Get the facts right before you talk shit, because outside of work your co-workers might not be that nice and might just kick your fucking ass all over the parking lot.

To: 23 July, 2007 01:29

Regarding this comment: I cant blame co-workers hanging each other out. You all think the job's about you now. It isnt. Get over yourselves and learn we're part of a system that there to support other city agencies.

Apparently you probably worked the old room where you could eat, smoke and probably fuck someone in the corner and have no one pay any attention to what you did. Well old timer, times have changed and we probably get twice as many calls as we did when you were dispatching. The stress level is twice that when you were working because back then no one gave a shit about what you did. Well now they do, so keep your old ass fashined comments to yourself. No one wants to read them. Have a lovely day!

23 July, 2007 05:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Ruiz jagoff is a fucking idiot! He doesn't know his ass from his mouth and everything that he speaks is shit! What a fucking moron! If the Mayor decides to keep him what a blunder that would be.

23 July, 2007 05:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the Sun Times editorial and found it to be profoundly ignorant. I am not a dispatcher, never was. If there are no police available, what do they expect? Superman and Batman to take the job?

When a police officer knows he is the only car up, don't you think he or she wonders if backup is available if the shit hits the fan? When a cop asks for help and no one is coming, it is not much different than when a civilain calls. Police are affected by raps too.

The Sun Times editorial was fabricated by someone who is young with very little life experience.

I would like to hear the calls that come in.It is too bad you dispatchers have no discretion over what you put out.

23 July, 2007 08:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Late Sat. night there was an incident up north and the CFD called for a "squad car and a supervisor" right away. The PO showed and when some time went by they asked where the sup. was twice and were told both times that 'the sergeant is having supper and will come when he gets done eating.' What the hell is ngoing on???

23 July, 2007 21:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was the "incident" about that they needed a Sgt onscene so fast????

24 July, 2007 00:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who asked for the supervisor twice, CFD? And who said he was eating twice? The dispatcher? Then maybe the dispatcher was relaying the message given by the Sgt.

24 July, 2007 03:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to work 1st watch zone 6, and if the regulars are in any trouble i will go to the ends of the earth to help. If they need money, thay can have my debit card, if they need food, they can have everything in the kitchen, if they need a place to stay, they can live in my basement, if they need a ride, they can have my car.If they need anything, I'll give them all I have. If it weren't for the dispatchers on 1st watch zone 6 I wouldn't be here to offer.

God bless them.........

24 July, 2007 03:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to get too far off topic, but....
Will somebody tell the girl that works citywide 2 and fills in on citywide 1 that her attitude sucks!!!
I had the opportunity to meet her when she was pulled over by the Burbaks PD who has her on video driving like a mainac. She admitted to us that she was bothered by all the PO's who ask for silly thing like name checks and license plates. She stated we all have PDT's in our car and should be doing them ourselvses.
First, we all don't have working PDT's. Second, when your out of your car and you have a more people your dealing with than police on the scene, going back to your car and leaving your partner alone is a bad idea.
Could one of you experienced dispathers please explain to her that we are dealing with people who are potentailly willing to KILL us face to face.
I realize dispatchers are as overworked as police, but PLEASE realize that our safety is in your hands. When we ask for something we are not trying to blow off work we could do. The people we deal with are real, and want to hurt us. I don't want to get hurt and I count on dispatchers for as much help as I can get. Even though you're not on the street looking at the same danger, you are as vital to me going home in one piece as my partner. Please remember that. The chances of someone hurting you because your board is full is really small. Every job you give me has the potential to get me killed. I don't have any answers to how to deal with the politics, or the rules and procedures, but please, please, remember me. I am the lowly patrol officer who has to go and see every situation up close.
I count on you more than you will ever know

24 July, 2007 04:09  
Blogger CPDDispatch said...

Enough with the banter and bashing. Consider this thread closed. We'll try to stick to the topic at hand - that is, the dispatchers involved in the Durkin Park incident - next time.

24 July, 2007 04:11  

<< Home

Chicago Dispatchers Blogarama - The Blog Directory
Law & Legal Blogs -  Blog Catalog Blog Directory