LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department
Updated: Monday, May 10th, 2010

MetroSafe taking step forward

Bring it on !!!!

May 26th, 2007 @ 12:10AM (17 years ago)

Here's the scoop. We're 30 people short in a 120 person operation. That's a 25% vacancy rate. Metro PD is what?? 10% short?? We've been without a contract the exact same length of time as the firefighters, as our contracts expired the same day. The difference is, we've not had an offer from the city yet, where the firefighters have had two so farthey at least were able to reject. Our current contract, because of some slick managers in a new operation doesn't protect us from 16 hour shifts, so they do it at least 15 of us every week. Nothing like going to work at 0700, and leaving at 2300, or going in at 1500 and leaving when the sun is coming up at 0700.

We've been overwhelmed with having to learn areas of the city we never dealt with before. Yeah, you've gotta learn your beat, and most of your division. I have to know all eight divisions and 44 individual beats,plus the intricate borders of 18 suburban fire departments, plus the coverage areas for all of EMS. I also have to know how to tell a frantic person over the phone how to give CPR to someone, and I never ever get to see the fruits of my work. That request for code 3 ems when you come up screaming, I have to find one of literally hundreds of response codes to give to ems, meanwhile our lovely flex unit gets in a foot chase. Multitasking anyone?? The public doesn't ever call to compliment the dispatcher, just the officer that helped them find their car or helped settle a dispute. But they'll call to complain on us in a hearbeat if we didn't send you on a report run within ten minutes.Want to argue an address being on your beat? Take it up with the map people or check your lines again, our maps are considered accurate down to within a meter of a fire hydrant on our map.

Midwatch takes over 1000 calls per shift with 10 people answering the phones. An ems call can take up to 10 minutes or more, and a break-in in progress may be even longer on the PD side. 100+ calls per day. Our dispatchers on the primary police channels handle over 600 incoming transmissions in eight hours. Our service channel dispatchers, on top of managing the wreckers and contract wreckers (or as the suburban side says 10-51's) also run about 250 service requests in eight hours, at the mercies of a $7 per hour clerk at district court who loves putting us on hold for ten minutes. To answer that question again for users of the service channels, we do still have you in line, we can't make the district court person answer any faster.

Tack on 2-4 overtime stints of four to eight hours and voila! Burned out dispatchers. If your dispatchers voice doesn't change at 1500,2300, 0700 you know what happened now. We are averaging 160 hours of overtime a day to keep the center at minimum operations. Derby weekend, some dispatchers worked 48 hours in 3 days.

For the police part, maybe if the flex units and or task forces would TELL metrosafe a day or two in advance that they were going to saturate a given area for eight hours, we might give you an extra service dispatcher so you don't have to wait on channel 5 or F3 for 20 minutes. And is it too much to ask for a little coordination? Lineups before foot chases ensue? I'd sure love to know who that is running down 34th and larkwood. Maybe make sure the two divisions aren't doing vcr's at the exact same time of the day with an additional 20 police stopping everyone walking? We do our best to work through it, but some days we have 100 cars logged on one channel.

Please don't even start with the dispatchers attitudes. We have some dispatchers with attitudes, but don't lump us all in. Some officers make a mistake and want to bust us out on it over the radio?? We have an instant recorder next to us available at all times, and I can't tell you how many times an officer was wrong. I have the right mind to start playing it back for the ones with an attitude over the air. I can tell you we have all been wrong before, and when we are wrong we get at least a good written reprimand or suspension day(s).

We are paying attention to you, contrary to the statement made. They keep the weather channel on 24/7 in the room, so I can tell you the forecast in Anchorage, Alaska or Tibet if you'd like, but we can't do anything else by our SOP except watch you guys on our computer screens.

Don't forget guys and gals, you all are the reason we go to work every day. You go to help the public and keep the peace, we go to watch your backs. I'm sorry if some of you disagree with that. We all have our bad apples (police, ems, fire included). Just know that of the 90 of us left, we do care.

At some point the city is going to have a shiny new radio system, and no one to work it on the dispatch side. At current pace, we'll have a staffing crisis in less than a year, and all of our dispatchers will be working 60 hour weeks at a minimum. It takes six months to get a new dispatcher ready from off the streets. They have ONE in the academy right now along with nine calltakers. Six months from now we will have lost at a minimum five other dispatchers to career changes, stress, or termination.