911 Dispatchers/Call Takers are NOT secretaries!

Almost everyone has heard of the #IAM911 movement, where dispatchers and call takers from around the world share their most touching, personal, and emotional experiences of dealing with life saving and gut wrenching situations. This recent movement and call to attention to the profession has brought a lot of support, and on the contrary, has shed light on the uneducated population who consider 911 dispatchers as secretaries. This population of people who believe 911 operators to be secretaries not only include members of the general public, but also our own Union lists us as Clerical employees. As described by Study.com, a clerical employee “provides general support that assists in the functioning in the company. They might work directly under an administrative assistant and be assigned basic tasks, such as fling or answering phones.”

Really?

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Let’s analyze this definition a little more closely in comparison to what dispatchers/call takers actually do. The initial part of this definition reads, “..provides general support that assists in the functioning of the company.”. We do not provide “general support”, we ARE the company. We ARE the police department. Without us, how do you think officers, fire departments, and ambulances know where to go? Who do you think would answer the phone if we were afforded Holidays off like the rest of the actual, properly labeled, clerical employees? Hmm, maybe you think officers themselves would answer the phones? But then who would be available to be dispatched? Without us being here to simply answer phones, the whole “company” and city would fall apart. I doubt that would happen if a phone went unanswered at the desk of a true secretary.

 Moving on to the next part of the definition, “They might work directly under an administrative assistant…”. Yeah, we work under an administrative assistant, who also happens to get Holidays off. So why don’t we? Is it perhaps because we are considered “essential employees” to the City we serve and don’t have the luxury of spending the holidays with out family because the office is closed? But we are secretaries, are we not? I’m confused.

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Lastly, we are “…assigned basic tasks, such as filing or answering phones.” Sure, we answer phones, in life or death situations. Answering the phone to speak with a customer about their account is a lot different than answering the phone for someone who just got shot in the face, but hey, that’s just my opinion.

We may go through a lot of the same motions that secretaries and clerical employees go through, but we are NOT the same. Sure, I send emails. The last email I sent was for a ping on a 15 year old girls cellphone because she had posted a “goodbye letter” on her social media and was threatening suicide. But yeah, I send emails just like secretaries do. Yes, I answer phones. The last phone call I answered was a female who had just been beat up by her husband as her 3 year old watched her bleeding from the head. But suuuure, you could say we just answer phones.

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I may be preaching here, but I WILL correct someone every damn time when  I hear about us being secretaries. We have just as much of a right to be labeled First Responders as police, fire, and EMS do. We are the first on the scene. Just because we aren’t physically there, doesn’t mean we are never there at all. Yes, officers and other first responders are physically there and deal with the situation in person, however, before that first responder walked into that room to cut that suicidal teenager down from the rope, I was on the phone with him, pleading with him not to do it. I listened to him fighting for his last breaths of life. I listened to the stab victim as he choked on his own blood. I was on the phone when a mother discovered her 3 month old not breathing. To this day, I don’t know if any of those people lived or not. We don’t get closure. All we get is another call, with another victim.

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Before any of you who get all hurt and think that I am insinuating that dispatchers/call takers are better than secretaries, that is not what I am saying at all. I am simply comparing the two professions and discussing how they are NOT the same, at all, not even a little bit. I’m sure a secretary would not appreciate being compared to a construction worker, or a construction worker to a car salesman, or a call salesman to a librarian. No one likes to put their heart into anything and be labeled something so far off from what they actually do. Especially when you save lives and are labeled as someone who just answers the phone.

For all of you who think that dispatchers are not also first responders, the next time you or someone you love gets into a bad car accident, your brother threatens to kill himself, your significant other beats the hell out of you, you get car jacked, or anything else, I can guarantee the first thing that comes to your mind is not, “Hurry, call the secretary!” We are police, fire, EMS. We are life savers. We are 911.

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Who the hell goes to counseling?

Many people in today’s society, or at least most of the people I know, always seem to have a negative interpretation of couples counseling. Why? I’m really not sure. Perhaps it’s the socially constructed connotation of what counseling implies? Many assumptions are made that if you’re a couple going through counseling, that you must have problems, fight a lot, hate each other, want to break-up or divorce, not get along, etc. While some of those things may very well be a reason why some couples choose to go to counseling, that doesn’t mean that all of those things are true about every couple.

This is just my opinion, however unpopular it may be, but I believe that everyone needs counseling, either individually or as a couple. Regardless of how perfect you think you and your relationship may be, I think counseling can always help, even in the most happiest of relationships.

Some of you may be reading, and tell me that I’m full of shit, and that’s fine. However, I know for a fact that there are people out there who are craving the experience of counseling, but either their partners are not willing to do it, or they themselves are just embarrassed to go. People in today’s day and age tend to worry a lot about what other people think. I mean think about it, can you imagine what your Facebook friends, or any friends for that matter, will think when they find out you go to counseling? They’re going to think, “Look at this fool, trying to better him/herself.” Yeah right. Honestly, fuck what people think. Worrying about other people’s opinions on you are not worth your mental health and well-being.

I know that this is easier said than done, being that we live in a society where the number of ‘likes’ we get determines how we feel about ourselves. Our generation is so caught up in sub-consciously worrying about the worlds opinion of us. But that’s for another post, on another day, so let me just stop right there with that one.

One of the hardest things about counseling is deciding if you need it and when to go. Based off of my personal participation, I have come to learn of certain signs to help myself, my relationship, and also other people who may be wondering the same thing, identify the signs that it is really time to think about taking up counseling. Though the signs differ on a case by case basis,  here’s what helped us realize that it was time:

  1. Your fights are out of control

Everyone fights, it’s normal, and when done constructively, it can even be healthy. However when your fights are getting out of control, I think it’s time to get some counseling. Some people would beg to differ and say, “Well at the end of our argument, our problem ends up getting fixed and we agree.” Ending the argument and agreeing to a solution doesn’t mean that you’ve accomplished anything. Most of the time when that happens, it’s probably because one of you got tired of the other one’s shit and finally said. “You win.” Again, this may not be the case in your relationship, I am just speaking from experience. I used to be, and probably still am sometimes, such a damn bitch when my partner and I fought, that I would just keep going on and on and on, and he would finally get so fed up with our yelling and fighting, that he would just give in and agree with me. Some might think, “Well then you’ve won, how could you be dissatisfied with that?” For me, it’s not about winning. I just want to be understood. When I fight, I try to get my point across, and if you’re not listening, I will make you listen (at least that’s what I thought I was doing, I’ve later come to learn that I was just emotionally draining people). Most people just want their partners to understand how they are feeling, and the majority of the time, we all just have little speed bumps on how to communicate our emotions. Even if your partner actually does understand how you are feeling, if they don’t communicate that successfully, or if you just aren’t listening, it can go downhill from there. It sounds cliché, but communication really is key. It got to a point in our relationship where my partner wouldn’t even put up a fight anymore and was kind of just like, “Ok, Brittany, you’re right.” When that happened, I really didn’t know what to say. It got to the point where I didn’t even feel a sense of accomplishment. Even though he was agreeing with me and was saying I was right, I knew deep down that I just took away his voice, and that he was just taking the easier route so that he didn’t have to hear me bitching at him. Throughout our counseling, we have both learned to communicate in a more healthier manner with each other, and now I know that if he does eventually agree with me, or says that he understands how I am feeling, I know it’s because he really does, not because he’s trying to shut me up. Granted, we still have our falling outs, we aren’t perfect and we still have a lot to work on. But couples counseling has helped us tremendously, and I am so grateful to have a partner that cares enough about our relationship to try it.

Also, if you have children, and your fights get out of control to where you are yelling at the top of your lungs in front of your children, that’s another sign that you probably need some help on how to communicate with each other. Children are like sponges, and they feed off of your energy. They also learn that the behavior you exhibit to your partner is ok, and they start exhibiting that same behavior in their own social lives. If doing it for yourself and your relationship isn’t enough motivation, at least give it a try for the sake of your children.

Whether you have children or not, couples counseling can help you resolve things in a less hurtful way. It can also help you improve your relationships and behavior with friends and family. I know one thing, I was sure tired of going everywhere in a bad mood and being a bitch to everyone just because my partner and I had it out. It was emotionally exhausting.

2. You keep fighting about the same shit

I feel like this one is kind of obvious, but whatever, that’s just me. Before we started counseling, my partner and I would literally argue over the same shit, all the time. God, it was taxing. Regardless of who started it, it pissed me off at the fact that we had already spent 4 hours during another fight already arguing about whatever the problem was, and there we were, doing it again. We both knew how it was going to end, probably the same exact way as the last four fights about this shit ended, but we didn’t give a shit and argued anyway.

If you and your partner find yourselves constantly bickering over the same things, like chores, finances, etc., then again, in my opinion, that’s another red flag that you need some outside help. The repeated fights corroded the trust in our relationship, and at one point, even started making us distance ourselves from each other, which leads me to the next red flag…

3. You’re growing apart

Obviously, constant fighting is a flag itself, however, lack of confrontation can also be cause for concern. This could be a sign that someone fears conflict, or has problems expressing their concerns in a relationship. This can also cause someone in the relationship to pursue other relationships, emotional or physical.

They way I see it, if you know for a fact that there are problems in your relationship, but sense that the both of you just chose to avoid the conflict because you don’t want to deal with it, then what reason do you have to NOT try counseling? Wouldn’t you want to be with someone who cared enough about you to talk things out? And that’s just the thing, just because you don’t talk about it, sometimes, doesn’t mean you don’t care. Like I said, one or both of you could very well just not be aware of how exactly to communicate your feelings, so you keep it bottled up, and that’s never a good thing.

If you feel like you are in a low-conflict, but drifting apart relationship, I highly suggest you seek help, only if your relationship is important enough to you for saving.

 

There are many other red flags that can arise that you can use to alert you and your partner that it is time for some help. The few examples that I have given are just mere personal experiences of what I have gone through, and also what I have seen people very close to me go through. There are a million people on this planet who think they are completely fine without counseling, and that’s ok. Whatever tickles your fancy, people. I am not a psychologist or a counselor of any sort, and like I said, this is just based off of my own personal experience, take from it what you will. This article is specifically written for those who have doubts, but are still somewhat interested and/or curious on whether or not they should get counseling. I chose not to share certain methods of communication that we’ve learned in counseling because a I feel each relationship has it’s own recipe for success, and I feel if someone is really passionate about achieving that through counseling, then they need to learn it themselves, first hand. I am and always will be  an advocate for counseling. Ignore the stigma that comes along with choosing to go to counseling. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, and I can proudly say that my partner and I go 3-4 times a month. I am learning to not be such a bitch all the time, even though I really don’t mean to be. I am also learning that I cannot control other people, I can only control myself. I have been much more confident, and our relationship has been much more enjoyable since we’ve started going. If your relationship is worth it, give it a try. After all, what do you have to lose?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life as a Correctional Officer’s Counterpart

Dating or being married to a corrections officer can be difficult. If you are currently, or have ever been in a relationship such as this, then you know how stressful it can be. However, with that being said, I think it’s important to stress how difficult it is for BOTH individuals in the relationship. I myself have been on both ends of the spectrum. I was a corrections officer for 3 years, and though I am not a C/O anymore, I am dating, and planning to marry, someone who is. In fact, working as officers in corrections is where we met. Pretty neat, huh?

Every now and then when I read something written from someone (mainly women) who are involved with someone employed as a corrections officer, the post is  mainly negative and all about how, “I’m lonely”, “He’s never home”, “His hours are too long”, “He’s always mad”, “He never wants to talk about work”, etc. One of the complaints that I hear the most is, “I feel like a single parent. I have to be both mommy and daddy to our children”. Just an FYI, that bugs the holy hell out of me. How the fuck can you say that? Being someone who has been on both sides of the situation, I can tell you that while it’s ok and understandable to feel this way, I completely disagree with expressing it the way most women do.

Being a corrections officer is hard. The hours are ridiculous. When I was a C/O, I worked 72 hours in ONE week, if you do the math, that’s 16 hours a day, 4 days a week. The only reason we didn’t work 80 hours a week is because they didn’t force us to work overtime on our Friday’s. How thoughtful of them right?

Putting the long hours aside, there are other aspects of the job that are not all that desirable. Not only are you away from family, and everything you love for 16 hours, but you are spending it with a group of people who virtually sit in a cell all day thinking of ways to ruin your day or give you shit for no reason. Try walking into a pod having cups of piss and shit hurled at you all because you didn’t get them a pencil right when they wanted it. Or walking past each cell and hearing them call you every name in the book, acting like YOU’RE the person who locked them up and put them there. Or how about you’re conducting rounds one day, and you see an inmate smearing blood all over the wall because he slit his wrist and either really wanted to die, or just wanted to cause a diversion and get some attention. Try doing a round and seeing a 275 pound man try to hang himself and you’re the only one in that pod who can stop it at that very moment. Do you go into the cell and hope to God that it isn’t a ploy just to get you in there so he can stab you, or do you stand there and watch him kill himself? Imagine responding to a call where an inmate was stabbed and is bleeding to death, try watching the fear in his eyes as he lays there with the life literally leaking out of him, even though he’s an inmate, he’s a human nonetheless. Can you even fathom hearing one of your fellow brother or sister officers in distress, on the radio, and by the time you get there, they have been assaulted in some manner? Can you imagine that there is virtually nothing you can do after it’s already happened but look that inmate in the face and hope to God that you don’t lose it on him?

Take all of this into consideration, and then try coming home to someone who complains just as much, if not, more than the inmates. Imagine dealing with everything I just described, all day, everyday, and coming home to someone who pretty much refers to you as a part-time parent or partner.

I read a blog recently by a woman who said she was all in all supportive of her husband and his journey to become a corrections officer, but she also felt as though she had to be 100% mommy and 80% daddy.

I speak directly to you women, or even men, who chose to be apart of the law enforcement community by being in a relationship with a C/O. You cannot, and should not make your partner in any way, shape, or form, feel like they are less of a parent or spouse for taking that job. I don’t care how often they are gone, that is not ok. Saying that you have to take care of the kids, or do anything else, by yourself, is selfish. How well would you be able to support your family without that paycheck that your spouse works their ass off to bring home? Being the financial bread and butter for a family is a huge part of being able to say that you’re a great provider for your family. It’s a catch 22 because without that paycheck, the complaint would be that daddy doesn’t bring home enough money. Make up your mind.

I think it’s safe to assume that you were well aware of what your honey did for a living when you met. If this was their career and you chose to date them, you also signed up to be in a relationship where they are gone more than half the time, where they come home and sometimes do not want to talk about work, where all they want to do is sleep for a couple extra hours when they have the chance. If this is something that your honey signed up for mid-way through your relationship after you already started dating, and you are having a hard time being able to be supportive, then I highly suggest that you re-evaluate the priorities that you value in your type of relationship. If you don’t think that this is something you can deal with without being bitter or unappreciative, then you need to run, now. The job of partner to a C/O ain’t for the faint-hearted.

I know this post is going to piss a lot of people off (mainly women), but I am so tired of them only considering how they themselves are feeling. I certainly hope for the sake of their partners, that these women did not express to their men the way that they are feeling in the same context as the way they write online about it. Holy shit.

My partner, who is still employed as a C/O,  works the same 72 hours a week that I did, he leaves at 5:30 in the morning and gets home at 10:30 at night. I only have the added benefit of understanding both sides because I’ve been on both of them. I get the fact that if I did not know what it was like on the other side, that I might also be one of these bitter women, and I am in no way saying that it is not stressful, but I would never tell my partner that he is only a 20% father because he is too busy out making money for our family to live and have the things that we want and need. We just built a beautiful home and it will be the first home ownership for the both of us. This would not have been nearly as possible for us if it weren’t for him working his ass off the way that he does. I am, and will eternally be, grateful for what he does for our family. Even though I do miss the shit out of him, I know that he doesn’t just relish the idea of leaving us everyday either. I understand that it is hard for him too, just as much as it is for me. That is the key to relationships like these, to understand that no one person has it harder than the other. Sure, you may be the one physically present with the kids most of the time, but it’s not like your partner is just out bar hopping and having a grand  ol’ time. I’m sure your partner would much rather have to deal with the kids all day, than with a bunch of dangerous, convicted felons. It’s hard for the both of you. Look, I know you miss him, but why don’t you just tell him that? Don’t make him listen to how pissed you are at him never being home. Tell him how much you care about him and miss him when he’s gone, because you never know what might happen on that compound. Not trying to scare you, just being realistic.

On the flip side, if you are the C/O, then you have to be equally understanding of the fact that yes, you are always gone. Your partner is more than likely going to want to talk to you every now and then about how she feels (as long as she does it respectively), and she is also going to want to hear from you ( a lot) how much you miss her and think about her all day. We are women, we love hearing that shit, and honestly, it really does make us feel better. I know all too well that sometimes, you want to just come home, kick your shoes off, and relax without having to talk to anyone. Yes, sometimes, you should be afforded of that right. But just like your partner, you also signed up for this. You cannot expect her to just deal with all of this on her own. Just like you, she works 16+ hours a day, maybe not in the same facet, but she does take care of the kids, cleans the house, and a whole lot more. Show her a little love too.

I know I’ve written a huge fucking novel here, but my point is this: just fucking love each other. I know it’s hard, trust me, I do. But both sides need to understand that you guys  both have it equally as difficult. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but for that to actually apply, neither one of you can be absent from each other while thinking, “He’s always gone” or “All she does is bitch at me”. Both of you need to take a chill pill. Make the time that you do have with each other count. Don’t ever go to bed mad at one another, always say “I love you” before you leave each other, and don’t take each other for granted. After all, your time is limited.

 

∼ Britt

 

 

Who the hell am I?

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I’m just a 25 year old woman, living in Albuquerque (respectively known as Burque), New Mexico. I’m an ex-corrections officer still thriving in the excitement in the law enforcement community as a Telecommunications Operator for a certain department. Crazy shit, let me tell ya.

I love Prince (yes, Darling Nikki Prince), I’m a bookworm, I eat far too much, and I’m a Denver Bronco fan (yes I was a fan way before they won Superbowl 50).

I have two kiddos; first there’s Jordynn. She came into my life when I started dating her daddy a few years ago. She was 3 when I met her, and I love that little girl like she’s my own. Then there’s Zachary. He is my first born child, and I had him on December 12th, 2015. Isaiah is the father to both of our beautiful babies, and he is a damn good one.

I created this blog in hopes of somehow being relatable to at least one other human being on this planet who may be going through some of the same shit as me. Also, I just needed a place to vent. Being that Facebook is filled with a plethora of people who constantly bitch about other people airing their dirty laundry and problems, I figured this would be a better suited environment to write about my shit. However, I must say I think it’s bullshit that anyone would shame someone for posting about their problems on Facebook or anywhere else for that matter. Excuse the fuck outta someone if they posted something they’re going through, on their Facebook. Geezus people, just fucking delete them or keep scrolling, it’s not rocket science. People shouldn’t have to censor what they post on their own social media just because it bothers you. But whatev. Thankfully, I’ve never committed such an offense due to the fact that if I had to deal with someone bitching about my posts, I’d tell them straight where to stick it. I don’t have time to deal with such keyboard warriors. I’d much rather be my own little keyboard warrior right here, with myself, and anyone who wants to listen.

 If you get offended easily, or just cringe at the the thought of those ever so obscene cuss words, I advise you to just stop reading right about here. I don’t plan on having a filter of any sort other than keeping my composure on certain issues that I must remain an adult about. I will not bash people personally, but I will give my opinion on life and certain situations. For those of you who have an opinion that differs from mine, you can get the fuck off my blog. Just kidding, I’m open to hearing opinions. Just be respectful people. As long as I’m not mentioning you or your mama by name, then chill the fuck out. And please, do not be one of those self-centered people who think every damn post is about you. Who knows, I may not even have an audience, I may just be blabbering to myself the whole time. Either way, if you’re reading this, thanks.