The 4th Annual PSAP 911 Seminar was a fantastic success.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend some part of the conference each year. This year I was able to attend both days. I was hopeful that since my job is now 911 (vs ISP which was not) that I'd be able to learn a lot about 911 topics. This year there wasn't as many topics that pertained to dispatching and 911. I was still able to meet/network and chat with other 911 operators around the state to ask questions and get some advise on this new territory I've ventured into.
The PSAP Seminar is put on at no cost thanks to the amazing sponsors and vendors. The vendors are a huge part of making this event a success. THANK YOU!
Day One keynote speaker was Mike and Carrie Kralicek. Mike was a Coeur d' Alene police officer who suffered a near-fatal debilitating injury in the line of duty. Hearing his speech sure puts life into perspective. Seeing his wife Carrie and all she does for him now (and has continued to do for him over the last 14 years since his shooting) breaks your heart. It really makes you aware of how important marriage vows are and why “for better and for worse” and “til death do us part” should be taken seriously. I can't even imagine what the day-to-day life is like for this married couple and how hard it must be to wake up each and every day looking for some sort of positive. I am very fortunate to have been able to hear them speak. We were also able to talk more one-on-one with them during the breaks. I talked a bit with Carrie about the dispatcher side of being behind the radio when your officer is shot. I know the guilt the dispatcher felt the day Mike got shot. That feeling never goes away. You always feel connected to that person.
The seminar is designed that you attend two sessions one day and then two sessions the second day. I picked the best of the sessions on day one as I feel that was the better of the two days. My first session was What To Do When You Receive A Subpoena taught by Bryan Taylor with the Canyon County Prosecutor's Office. First off, I love Bryan. He taught a session last year and he is absolutely hilarious. He has humor all through this presentation and is very funny and energetic. I was excited to hear him again this year. In the short 13-weeks I have been a 911 dispatcher I can tell already that they gets called to testify many more times than those of us at ISP. I learned a lot from this course and hope to remember it when the time comes to have to testify. It is one of the scariest part of my job and makes me nervous to even think about it.
The second session of the day was Security Threat Groups taught by Nicole Fraser with the Idaho Department of Correction. Nicole was my sergeant in A-block when I worked at the men's maximum security prison several years ago. I sought out Nicole before the session started so I could say hello and see if she remembered me. We had so much fun talking about those we used to work with and it really made me miss my days at the prison. The session was really awesome and Nicole did a fantastic job with the photos and videos she shared. I can't say it was very relivent to our jobs as dispatchers but it was sure an interesting topic to discuss. It brought back so many memories of working at the prison and seeing the videos of inmates fighting made me remember why I don't work out there anymore. I miss some of my old coworkers but not the crap that goes on when you oversee inmates.
The final session of the day was a full three hours and we were all in the same session together. That sessions was by far the most emotional and ended the day on a bit of a sad note. Emotional Survival For The First Responder was taught by Sgt. Jamie Burns and Officer Brad Childers with the Nampa Police Department. I had heard Jamie speak of emotional survival at the first PSAP seminar and had known he had been shot in the line of duty. When I started my first week at Nampa we met with Jamie where he talked more about the shooting and the depression that came after. I knew it would be an emotional day as it is still difficult for Jamie to talk about. Brad Childers was shot in the line of duty while working for Canyon County Sheriff's Office. He and another CCSO Deputy Roth each took five bullets. Brad also had a difficult time talking about his shooting, which happened three years ago tomorrow. Seeing grown men tear up is tough. I was also sitting with the dispatchers from my agency who were all affected by the events of the shootings and know each of them men more personally than I do. Both Jamie and Brad's wives were also sitting at my table. It made for a very emotional few hours.
The silver lining that came out of both officers being shot, going through a depression, and coming out the other side is that they each went on to respond to a call involving saving a child. Jamie was the first officer on scene of a six-year-old child that was found half naked in an alley on a cold morning in January 2006. She had been sexually assaulted and bystanders had the 12-year-old boy detained. Jamie was the lifeline for this child that needed help. Had he not been able to pull himself together after his shooting, he wouldn't have been there to help this child in need. The same goes for Brad. In June of 2015 he responded to a report of a 3-year-old child that had drown in a pool. When Brad arrived on scene the 14-year-old cousin was doing CPR and Brad took over. The child lived and after many months of rehab in Salt Lake City was able to meet Brad when he received his live saving metal a few weeks ago. If Brad had not been there this child may not have made it.
As emotional as the day was, it is a reminder on how important the job of a 911 dispatcher is. When the caller dials 911, we are their lifeline. They called because they need help and my job is to get them that help. 911, and non-emergency, dispatchers have a very tough job. I am glad there are so many wonderful people that fill the seat next to me and that fill the seats all over the USA.
I'll report in on Day Two tomorrow.