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  • Writer's pictureMiles Hall MA, LMFTA MHP

Bracing for Impact. Public safety telecommunicators confront life and death during any given shift.

Original Post Written by By Maggie Eastman


Part 1 of 2 Warning: Some may find the stories in this feature triggering of past trauma.

It’s such a strange job. Everything I say is recorded and can be listened to at any time. Of course, that’s to make sure that I’m protected if a caller complains — did I give the correct information, did I handle the call appropriately, did I say or do anything that negatively impacted the outcome of the call.

Every priority call I handle goes through a quality assurance screening. In addition to that, calls are chosen at random to be QA’d. It’s in the back of my mind on every single call — someone might have to listen to this call. Maybe it will be QA’d. Maybe the prosecutor will listen to it, and it will be played in court. Maybe the media will request a copy of the tape, and it will be played on the nightly news. Each of these scenarios has happened to me.

My calls are frequently QA’d, and I am given feedback on my call handling. A prosecutor once recommended I be fired for my handling of the call, and it was determined I had followed policy so I was safe. The time during the investigation was miserable, and I thought about quitting every day. On my third day working on my own, I handled a call that was requested by the media and made headlines across the country playing on the news and radio. That call still lives online and anyone who might want to hear it can still listen. All of these individual incidents have shaped my perspective of media and how information is relayed and how situations are presented.

In addition to these stressors, I happen to work in a county that has the smallest officer-to-citizens ratio in the country. I constantly wonder if units in the field are safe and have enough support responding to calls. Please click to continue reading......

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