Last night as part of our monthly first responder training we were given a tour of the local dispatch center. It was my first time to peer in and see the dim-lit room with all the colorful screens where the people with the headsets try to keep track of all the trouble in the county. It’s a difficult job. In Population 485, I wrote:
Dispatchers have a tough gig. They function as interlocutor between two parties occupying various states of panic. They sort it out the best they can. It’s fascinating to think of them wherever they are, with their phone, their microphone, their maps, playing such a critical role in a drama where they never meet the other players. The dispatcher is hip-deep and detached, all at once. Think of a football coach locked in an office during the game, calling plays and relaying them to the quarterback based on reports given to him by a fan on a cell phone
So thanks, dispatchers. Next time I’m keying the mic from some ditch or logging trail or porch or from the cab of my pickup truck for “case number and times”, it’ll be nice to be able to conjure where that voice in my radio is coming from.
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