Good Morning! Is anybody else ready for the weekend or is it just me? I’ve got to finish the rest of my 12-hour shift and then I get Friday and Saturday off. I am looking forward to it.
I had the pleasure to attend the 5th Annual PSAP 911 Seminar on Tuesday and Wednesday. Just as in the years past, it was a great time seeing all my dispatch peeps and having the ability to learn some new stuff. There is a lot of hard work put into putting this seminar on from year to year and I am very thankful to the dedicated members of the PSAP team. To the PSAP Members, thank you for all you do!
The seminar consists of two full days and each day has a keynote speaker, two mini training sessions, and one long training session at the end of the day. The training is free and they even feed you. On Wednesday our morning snack was a yogurt bar with fruit toppings and it was served alongside some banana bread. It was the highlight of the food and really hit the spot. There tends to be a lot of sweets served and before you know it, by the end of the day it is a bit of sugar overload. So the healthy snack was much welcomed. We also had hamburgers on Wednesday for lunch served on homemade hamburger rolls that were still fresh and hot. Boy was that delicious. The fire alarm went off twice during our mini training session just before lunch. Maybe it was those piping hot buns?
This mini sessions I attended on Tuesday were Difficult Personalities and Leadership. I really enjoyed the counselor that taught the session on Difficult Personalities. She was really upbeat and energetic and funny as hell. I really took away a lot from that session and am still thinking about it even today. I loved when she said to remember that your best attribute annoys somebody else. Ain’t that the truth! The Leadership training was a dud. Nice guy but very boring and really nothing new as far as information goes. I felt like he just had a bunch of quotes to share and that was it.
The big session on Tuesday was also our keynote speaker. He is a manager for a one of the dispatch centers with the California Highway Patrol and has been working for the agency for 35 years. It was fantastic to have a dispatch manager teaching one of our sessions and the three hours we were with him flew by so fast. His training session was Catch ‘Em, Train ‘Em, Keep ‘Em which was about recruitment, training, and retention. I got several ideas on how to make new employees feel welcome and how to try and keep people in the door. We even have a fun idea for a recruitment video (assuming we can actually get approval). What was really cool is that the speaker worked in the dispatch center during the Rodney King incident/riots and the OJ Simpson police pursuit. That is awesome.
The mini sessions on Wednesday were Suicide Intervention and Below 100. I’ve been to a few suicide trainings and honestly, we don’t get many suicidal callers in our dispatch center at ISP. I had a couple during my six months at Nampa. The counselor who taught this was very passionate about the topic and really helped us understand suicide better. She had some great tools/tips to share so we could take them back to the center. The Below 100 is a movement to try and keep the officer deaths below 100 each year. There are more officers killed in traffic crashes each year than by firearms. In order to keep the officer deaths down, the movement focuses on these key aspects: Wear your seatbelt, reduce your speed, wear your vest, WIN (What’s Important Now), and complacency kills. You can read more about Below 100 by visiting their website by clicking here. ß Below 100 is a very emotional topic to discuss. Our goal each day as dispatchers is to make sure our officers go home safe to their family and loved ones.
The large session at the end of Wednesday was also our same keynote speaker from the morning. Our speaker had a very emotional story to share of her tragic life events and her upbringing. She is very brave for taking so openly. Her afternoon session was on Critical Thinking but was a bit unorganized. We listened to some calls and critiqued the dispatcher. If you know dispatchers you know we love to find the bad in a person so critiquing comes easy to us.
I won a prize on Tuesday and now have $25 extra in my pocket to spend at Starbucks. WhooooHoooo! I’m calling it an early birthday present.