It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas… To a Police Dispatcher Like Me, Anyway



me at work back in the days when I was a cop

Two weeks to go until 25 December and it’s the start of another police dispatch shift.  And as we get into the shift it is looking like a typical Friday night for this time of year with everyone getting into the holiday spirit as usual.  There’s a major rock concert at the Roger’s Arena and as that ends and the people spill out to party, the call load gradually builds. The number of in progress suicides, domestic assaults, drunken bar fights, violent road rages, and mindless curb side vandalisms steadily increase to the point that by midnight there are no police units that are not tied up on one call or another.  A couple of gang members have a gun battle on a street corner packed with holiday revellers in the downtown core and end up both going to hospital. The patrol sergeants are advising dispatchers like me to hold all calls below priority one (in progress/danger to lives) until dayshift because there are no units available to take the incoming calls that are steadily stacking on our dispatch screens.  People waiting for police to attend their break ins, thefts, noise complaints, etc, are going to have to wait.  Some of them have already waited a day or more for police to attend.  Twelve hours later as the sky starts to lighten in the morning, we all hand over to our day shift crew, pack up and stagger home.

The next night I return to work. And as we get into the shift it is looking like a typical Saturday night for this time of year with everyone getting into the holiday spirit as usual.  There’s a hockey game at the Roger’s Arena and as that ends and the people spill out to party, the call load gradually builds. The number of in progress suicides, domestic assaults, drunken bar fights, violent road rages, and mindless curb side vandalisms steadily increase to the point that by midnight there are no police units that are not tied up on one call or another.  A couple of gang members walk into a crowded restaurant on the affluent West Side and open fire.  Ten people go to hospital with gunshot wounds.  We get lucky and apprehend the suspects and seize weapons.  The patrol sergeants again advise dispatchers like me to hold all calls below priority one (in progress/danger to lives) until dayshift because there are no units available to take the incoming calls that are steadily stacking on our dispatch screens.  It is so bad that the duty officer tells the afternoon shift, which is supposed to be off at 0300 hours, that they’ve got to stay to try to cover the priority calls still coming in. People waiting for police to attend their break ins, thefts, noise complaints, etc, are going to have to wait.  Some of them are still waiting from yesterday for police to attend.  Twelve hours later as the sky starts to lighten in the morning, we all hand over to our day shift crew, pack up and stagger home, knowing that the afternoon shift that should have gone home at 0300 is still out there. I give thanks that for the last five of my thirty four years in law enforcement I’ve been a dispatcher and am no longer actually out there in the middle of all this chaos.

And because this looks just like every other holiday season that I’ve experienced in law enforcement for the last 34 years I have this song running through my head all night and all the way home:

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”

C.A. Ennis

Advertisements

About cuhulain

Kerr Cuhulain has been a Wiccan for 40 years and has been involved in anti-defamation activism and hate crimes investigation for the Pagan community from 1986 to 2005. Kerr was awarded the Shield of Valor by the Witches League for Public Awareness. Kerr is the author of the Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca, Witch Hunts, Wiccan Warrior, Full Contact Magick and Magickal Self Defense. Kerr has a column with 182 articles on anti-defamation issues and hate crimes on The Witches’ Voice web site called Witch Hunts. Kerr is the former Preceptor General of Officers of Avalon, an organization representing Neo-Pagan professionals in the emergency services (police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians). Kerr retired from the Vancouver Police Department in November 2005 after serving 29 years with them. He was awarded the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal. Kerr's past job assignments within the VPD include the Emergency Response Team, Hostage Negotiator, Child Abuse Investigator, Gang Crime Unit, and the Mental Health Emergency Services Unit. Kerr is currently working as a police dispatcher and trainer for ECOMM for Southwestern BC Kerr is the Grand Master and founder of a Wiccan order of Knighthood called the Order of Scáthach in Surrey, British Columbia in November 2007. The Order of Scáthach embraces the Warrior philosophies, precepts and code of chivalry outlined in Kerr’s books. The Order of Scáthach is a study group for people interested in Wiccan magick, energy work and rituals related to the Warrior path, focusing on empowerment, personal development and creative expression. The training focuses on the effective use of magickal energy and developing psychic skills. The Order of Scáthach is constantly developing new rituals, and magick and studying our Warrior philosophy. Our members are spread across the globe and connect through local preceptories and on line. All members are expected to participate and contribute.
This entry was posted in police stuff and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s