Then they promptly began to ignore my calls. The excuses varied, but were usually because of a do-not-disturb setting while they were gaming with friends, a measure to prevent their army of other friends from interrupting with SnapChaps and whatnot.
This has not gone over well, as you can imagine.
You know who never doesn't answer the phone? Dispatchers. At least in my experience. Emergency or non-emergency lines alike, they're the most reliable pick-uppers around.
|Mendy, Erinn, Tiagh, Amanda, Ashley, Lindsey, Bobby,|
Jaclyn, Monica, Kerry, and Morgan.
Also, Hubs on the hunt for candy. He knows it's here somewhere.
This week was National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. And while treats were had and appreciations extended, none of those behind the consoles took their eye off the ball. This week was a hard one and tested nerves, training, and resolve - and those serving the agencies in our community came through.
I've always appreciated the routine and mundane way these women and men have systematically kept tabs on Hubs during his years on the road. Some have come and gone, but they're still part of our family, even if he's moved into administration.
The trust borne out of the communications between this team, dispatchers from other jurisdictions, and the officers serving all have built a unique safety net in our community - an assurance that no matter where help is needed in our geographically interesting area, there's no delay in getting someone to you.
This week our community suffered a tragic event - an officer ambushed at his home, followed by an unbelievable pursuit where no other officers or bystanders were injured and the suspect was stopped quickly. Not many details have been released publicly at this time from the agency charged with untangling the web of evidence to piece together what everyone is asking:
Why did this happen?
I'm sorry that it happened. I'm sorry that the officers involved were put in that situation. I'm sorry for every sleepless and nightmare-filled hour that everyone will endure.
Lots of speculation is floating around, but I'm proud of the compassionate and professional way the officials who've touched this have handled things. Sometimes the wait for details is excruciating, but it's necessary to ensure the facts come to light.
I'm proud of the seamless way that everyone jumped in to ensure coverage - an act of humanity, not of execution of a required plan.
I'm proud that this won't keep any of them from answering the next call.
I'm proud that when shit hits the fan, our agencies are all-hands-on-deck, and that all colors of uniforms, all manner of stripe and rank showed up at the hospital to check on Officer Rigney, that despite agency affiliation, they were all claiming him as their own.
Especially Hubs, who referred to him simply as "Mike's kid" in a quick text to me when he told me where he was. Hubs, the one who has never ever ever looked at these events, no matter how close to home, and said he wanted out. Times like this, he says he misses being on the road the most.
For now, he will do what's in his control to do: to make sure technology is available to keep communications reliable and safe in order to protect responders and best serve our community, to advocate for amended status for dispatchers, whose 24/7 high-stress service hasn't been recognized in the same way other first responders have historically, and finally, and probably most importantly, to make sure everyone working for and with and around him knows just how much he cares about them, and wants them to succeed in their pursuit of public service.
If you'd like to help Officer Rigney, an account has been set up at Lewis Clark Credit Union, as well as several other fundraising efforts around the Valley. Lend your support however you're comfortable, but as always, please verify the fundraiser before donating.
If you'd like to support Public Safety Telecommunicators, visit NENA.org to express your support of reclassifying dispatchers as first responders vs. clerical staff.
In the meantime, everyone at the House of Lee sends all the speediest recovery vibes as Officer Rigney heals, and every relieved deep breath that the other responding officers were physically unharmed. We'll continue thinking of everyone as they work through the aftermath, and know our community will rally around you all with the same ferocious protection that you provide every day.