Posted in Uncategorized


It’s great being back at work. I’m well aware of how much I have to be grateful for this year as we roll into my first working holiday. A year ago, I was just about of unemployment funds and still couldn’t get my first break into public safety. I’d just passed my first interview with a police agency, but was number two on the list, so I didn’t think anything would come of it.

Now, a year later, I got that job, only to lose it to COVID-19 finances, but it led me directly to my current agency. I’m finishing my sixth month at work, released as a call receiver, and getting some experience under my belt. I work with an incredible group of professionals, all of whom have taught me a lot. I stand at my desk for ten hours a shift, grinning most of the time, because I’m doing something I feel is important and trying my hardest to make a difference.

I’m very fortunate. 2020 as a whole was a total shitstorm, but this job was the highlight of the year.

I’m excited to see what the holiday will bring. Our food drive ended yesterday. I don’t know what the total was, but I hope it helps. Our planned potluck is sort of modified. Everything has to be invidually-portion servings, which sort of kills my plan for bringing in cottage pie (I don’t have sixty-plus disposable containers for it). I think I’m bringing chocolates and a box full of single-serving potato chips and flaming hot Cheetos. When I get home, it will be my Friday night. I get to stay home with my beloved wife for the next three days.

I pray most people do the same.

Don’t get together with your family and friends. COVID-19 isn’t worth it.
Don’t drink and drive.
Don’t get angry or hurt each other.

Do be grateful that we’re almost through the year and we’re together with the people who love us.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all. Don’t call me at work.

Posted in Dispatcher Life

Back in the Saddle

Today was my first day back after a much-appreciated 10 day vacation. Because our training process is so long and pretty darned tough, they thought we’d appreciate some time to recharge our batteries.

And HOW!

It helped that my time off coincided with my fifth anniversary. My wife took some time off as well and we…pretty much stayed at home because of the pandemic. We did do a road trip around the Olympic Peninsula, but that was less awesome than we’d hoped because A) the beach was cold, B) you couldn’t actually see the mountains from the southern route we took and C) by the time we got back to the mountains, it was pretty much pitch black.

So, the rest of our time off was a staycation.

Today, however, I was back at work. Happy to be so, actually. Today went pretty well, too. I didn’t get any comments about my calls from the dispatchers (yay!) and I fielded the usual array of calls without any difficulty. Even got a couple of freeway addresses locked in.

It was good to be back.

Admittedly, I forgot my lunch at home so it was a very HUNGRY day back, I still enjoyed it. Got to talk to some other peers I don’t normally get to interact with, which is cool. I definitely feel like I’m being (slowly) welcomed into the fold. Alas, I also got an email from my boss letting me know that my schedule would change on January 4 and my sweet, sweet shift with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off would probably be gone.

Oh, well. It’ll be fun while it lasts!

To conclude today’s post, I want to remind everyone that COVID-19 is real, and it fucking kills people. I got a call today from a frantic daughter because both of her COVID-positive parents were having difficulty breathing. When I got them on the phone, speech wasn’t possible. I only heard wheezing and the strains of someone trying to get air into their lungs.

I don’t know what happened to them, of course, but I know they got a ride from the paramedic instead of an aid car or an ambulance.

Stay home. If you can’t stay home, stay home. If you REALLY can’t stay home, wear a mask.

Don’t call me at work.

Posted in Uncategorized

What to Expect Staying at a King County Isolation and Quarantine Center  — Employee News

Crossposted from Cultivating Connections King County continues to offer community members a safe place to isolate, quarantine and recover from COVID-19. A new video shows what guests can expect. If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and are awaiting a test result or tested positive for COVID-19 and need a comfortable place to stay, King County’s isolation and […]

What to Expect Staying at a King County Isolation and Quarantine Center  — Employee News
Posted in Training

Training During COVID-19

This won’t possibly affect our lives…

Yesterday was the end of my first week. It was an odd week, to be sure, with two days studying at home as our agency didn’t feel it safe to come in with protesters, looters, police, and the National Guard all ready to mix it up. Then two days in the office where it seemed like nothing happened while simultaneously dumping a waterfall of information down my throat.

Odd, to say the least.

Plus, training during the time of COVID-19 means that a lot of the procedures are modified. For example, our agency normally does 12 weeks of “academy,” which is basically classroom learning coupled with one-on-one training. At the end of that, rookie dispatchers will have passed a couple of certifying tests and be released as call takers.

Except, right now, much of the training staff is working from home due to the coronavirus. Ditto for the admin staff. So, a lot of the normal on-boarding activities get skipped entirely and we got the bare minimum. Similarly, we got a lot of material to learn, but we’re pretty much expected to be self-studying ninjas. So, the last two days in the office were spent watching the live CAD systems and seeing what the calltakers were doing whilst getting new chapters for our binders and new drills to work on solo.

Even in training, however, there can only be so many people in the training room, so the other rookie and myself are often in there alone, unless another pair of dispatchers need the room to train, in which case we take our masked selves and either go out on the floor to observe call takers or we go to another place to sit down and study.

Our training coordinator told us that we weren’t going to get the regular experience. Not only are they in the midst of revamping the curriculum, but they can’t hold normal academy sessions. We can ask all the questions we want via email, but we need to adjust to seeking out information on our own rather than waiting for it to be delivered to us. Going to force us to take a more active part in our education.

That’s all great, but I personally like some structure when I learn. Self-guided studies can work fine within a narrow scope. Emergency telecommunications is an unbelievably broad scope, though.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter what I want. Public safety careers require you to go with the flow, no matter how awkward/difficult/uncomfortable it may be. I knew that coming into it, but I think acknowledging these feelings will help me as I move forward.

We’re also quite distant from each other in the office right now, too. Literally. Diving into 911 dispatching during the middle of a pandemic is quite the experience.

Masks are everywhere. Hand sanitizer bottles are on every flat surface like health potions in a game. Thermometer guns await you at every entrance. Trainees have to use the restrooms and kitchen on the other side of the building, regular staff can ONLY use the regular restrooms and kitchen.

I’m off for the next four and a half days as my new schedule has me working 2100-0700 starting Tuesday night. Happily, I will be paired up with a veteran trainer, who will work with me and help me get all of this stuff into my brain. Looking forward to working with her. All the staff I’ve talked to so far have been great about answering questions, even out on the call center floor. The culture seems pretty welcoming and supportive and I can’t help but think I really lucked out when my PD job froze up and I ended up here.