Thursday, March 23, 2006

A hotbed of crime

I went to the first session of the Citizen's Police Academy last night. It lasted from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. and I didn't even get tired or sleepy. Wow, this is going to be really really interesting. It was all ready, and last night was just the introductory session. It was an overview of the Police Department, organizational structure, budget and the emergency dispatcher system.

Remember back a few weeks when I took that test for one of the two open positions with the emergency dispatcher system -- and I missed the required cut-off number of points scored by two points? Now, I'm thinking, that may have not been a great job for me. We toured the Police Station and the emergency dispatcher system. The emergency dispatcher system is in the basement of the Police Station, in lock-down. It is like a cement bunker, low ceilings, stale air, dim lights. Two operators were there and they were really busy taking continuous calls. They work long shifts (which like nurse's long shifts, I don't understand. These people need to stay so alert and are dealing with people's lives. Why don't they just work a regular eight-hour shift or even shorter ones?) One operator was working a 12-hour shift and the other a 16-hour shift. Yikes! I rather enjoyed working the two FT jobs but wouldn't have liked (or been able to) work them back to back! And standing in the "bunker" for only a few minutes, with the stale air and dim lights was making my clausophobia kick in. It would have been a BIG adjustment to work there.

The manager of the emergency dispatcher system wore what looked like almost a costume, white and black shoes, black tuxedo-looking jacket, white formal shirt and tie. He was very interesting, soft spoken and funny. In fact one of the most noteworthy things about every one of the police presenters last night was their great sense of humor!

We found out that our new city has a very high crime rate, much higher than the city in which I work, across the state line. In fact, our new hometown consistently scores in the top ten crime cities in the state and has scored as high as fifth in the state despite being under 30,000 in population (crime figures are a percentage of the population). The reasons for the high crime rate are: economic, alcohol abuse, gambling problems, it's a port city, it's a border city.

Last night's session was so interesting that it would have been enough, but we also scored a police coffee mug (the travel kind, with the top. I needed a travel mug!) and a really nice pen. They also gave us the rules for the patrol car ride-along. We get to spent a night shift, 10:00 pm to 4:00 am on a Saturday night observing what a patrol officer does on his/her duty shift! This is all so so cool and I'm glad that my friend UHI told me about it (she was in last year's bunch)I need to call and thank her! Have a happy Thursday!


Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

How cool...a ride-along! That would be very interesting.

And I once thought about being a dispatcher too...but I don't have the nerve for I'd get too involved, you know what I mean?

Still the class sounds like fun! :)

6:50 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Sounds so much fun, and you get pressies! Happy Thursday to you :)

7:29 AM  
Blogger Grant said...

When do you get your riot gear?

9:03 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

A border city? What, all of those rowdy Canadians committing mayhem? Bastards. :)

10:06 AM  
Blogger Magpie said...

sounds like a great idea, it seems very involved, but interesting to see what happens at the heart of the emergency services...

and of couse you can email the funnies...


1:17 PM  
Blogger katie said...

I would love to go on a ride along! I hope you see something interesting!

2:34 PM  
Blogger MrGonSings said...

do you get to wear a uniform too? (it'd be cute, I think...)
Good to see you are having fun! :)

9:46 PM  
Blogger Scooterdeb said...

Man. Your description of the dispatcher's workplace matches all the ones I've ever seen. What's up with that, I wonder?

11:13 PM  

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