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When I start my tour of duty God,
Wherever crime may be,
as I walk the darkened streets alone,
Let me be close to thee.

Please give me the understanding,
with both the young and old.
Let me listen with attention
until their story's told.

Let me never make a judgment
in a rash or callous way,
but let me hold my patience,
let each man have his say.

Lord, if some dark and dreary night,
I must give my life,
Lord, with your everlasting love
protect my children and wife.



Dear Lord, help me keep safe those who depend on me. Give me healthy ears, for they are my link with those who need me. Keep my mind sharp and alert, my fingers quick and nimble. Grant that I never forget how to do ten things at once, and do them all equally well.

Bless me with patience Lord. Patience to deal with the public, with the officers, with the boss, and with everyone else who makes me want to grit my teeth and yell.

Give me nerves of steel, that I may listen to a mother screaming for her child to live, the man with a gun, or an officer yelling for backup, and not give way to panic.

Grant me empathy, that I may help the battered wife, the rape victim, the abused child, and not cause them more pain than they already have.

God, give me the ability to learn what I need, to remember it quickly, and give me the wisdom to use the knowledge properly.

Bless my family Lord, for they will have to make sacrifices to shift work, overtime, canceled plans, and times when I just can't take on one more thing. Help them understand the missed ball games, school programs, and dinners for two.

Lord, give me courage. Courage to persevere when I feel undervalued, unappreciated, overworked, and unrecognized. Courage to keep trying when I feel in my heart it's hopeless.

Last of all Lord, help me to never forget why I chose to do this job in the first place, to never lose sight of what is important in the midst of the stress. Help me to remember that I make a difference, however small it may seem some days, and that I matter.

I am a dispatcher, Lord, grant me peace.


And God created dispatchers...

The angel walked in and found the Lord walking around in a small circle and muttering to himself.

"What are you working on now lord?' he asked.

"Well I finished creating a peace officer, now I'm working on a dispatcher"

Since the angel could see nothing in the room, he asked God to tell him about it.

"It's some what like the police officer model, it has 5 hands-one for answering the phone, two for typing, one for answering the radio, and one for grabbing a cup of coffee. The arms had to be placed fairly carefully since all the tasks a dispatcher does, have to be done simultaneously. The digestive system is a little complicated, since it runs on coffee, and food that can be delivered, but seldom needs to get up for the rest room. I made the skin tempered duralite covered with Teflon. A dispatchers hide has to be tough enough to withstand darts from cranky officers, jabs from citizens, and lack of attention by administration, but not show any signs of wear and tear. Unlike a police officer it only needs one pair of eyes, so that left extra room for the ears. There are five sets of ears, one set for the telephone, one for the main radio, two for the other radios it has to monitor, and one to hear everything else going on around it. They fit all right on the head, since it had to be extra large for the brain. The brain has to be enormous so it can remember a full set of 10 codes, phonetic alphabet, at least two hundred different voices, the entire contents of three different SOP manuals, two Teletype manuals, and an NCIC code book. Of course I left enough extra space for it to learn the individual quirks of every different SGT., LT., Shift commander, fire chief, and other supervisor, and the ability to keep them all straight. There also has to be room for it to learn which situations need an officer and which don't, and also the ability to determine in less than two minutes what to do for any given event. There is a built in condenser so it can take an hour long explanation, put it into 30 seconds worth of radio transmission, but still get the whole story across.

Those switches on the front are for the emotions. It has to be able to talk to a mother who's child has just died without pain, a rape victim with empathy, a suicidal person with calmness and reassurance, and abusive drunk without getting angry. When one of the officers yells for help, it can't panic, and when someone doesn't make it, the dispatchers heart mustn't break. The little soft spot just to the left of the emotion switch is for abandoned animals, frightened children, and little old ladies who are lonely and just want to talk to someone for a few minutes. The dispatcher has to care very much for the officers and firefighters it serves, without getting personally involved with any of them, so I added another switch for that. Plus of course, the dispatcher can't have any of its own issues to worry about while it is on duty, so that last switch turns those off. The patience switch is turned up to high all the time on the CTO model, and I've added an extra fuse to those to those to handle the overload.

A dispatcher has to be able to function efficiently under less than good physical conditions, and be flexible enough to withstand whatever whim the administration comes up with, while still retaining it's general shape and form. That warm fuzzy shoulder is, there for officers to use when they gripe, other dispatchers when they hurt, and for those who are shell shocked by a horrible call and just need someone to be there. The voice gave me a little trouble, it has to be clear and easy to understand, calm and even when everyone else is screaming, but still able to convey empathy and caring while remaining totally professional.

It runs for a full 12 hours on very little sleep, requires almost no days off, and gets paid less than an executive secretary.

"The dispatcher sounds wonderful lord", said the angel, "Where is this amazing creation?"

"Well you see," answered the supreme being "Dispatchers are invisible unless they make a mistake. So it's practically impossible to tell when they are run down, worn out or in need of repair. Now that I've created them, I can't see the original model to make enough of them to go around."

The Military Man

The average age of the military man is 19 years.  He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy.  Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country.  He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than was his father's; but he has never collected unemployment either.

He's a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away.  he listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and 155mm howitzer.  He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk.  He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.  He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional.  he can march until he is told to stop or stop until he is told to march.

He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity.  He is self=sufficient.  He as two sets of fatigues: he washes on and wears the other.  He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry.  he sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle.  He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts.  If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food.  He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when run low.  He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands.  He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job.  He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay and still find ironic humor in it all.  He has seen more suffering and death then he should have in his short lifetime.

He has stood atop mountains of dead bodies, and helped to create them.  He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed.  He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to 'square-away' those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking.  In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.  Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-Grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom.  Beardless or not, he is not a boy.  He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years.

He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding.  Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration for his blood.  And now we even have women over there in danger, doing their part in this tradition of going to War when our nation calls us to do so.  As you go to bed tonight, remember this snap shot.. A short lull, a little shade and a picture of loved ones in their helmets.



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Last modified: July 18, 2012