Monday, March 16, 2009

A Typical Day at Work

All day yesterday I told myself, self, you need to blog because that is what you committed to do. I just couldn't make myself sit down.
I had a busy day at work. There are 2 sergeants on every shift. I am responsible for the south and JB is responsible for the north. Occasionally we take off for school, vacation, sick or whatnot. That leaves one to cover the whole kit and caboodle. That was the case for me yesterday. Our shifts are offset by one hour so I went in early to do squad meeting for the north side guys. This is not required as the night shift sergeant will handle it if the day shift north side sergeant is off. However, I will be supervising those guys all day in JB's absence so it is better if they start the day with me. Sunday mornings are usually pretty quiet. We work 12 hour shifts so everyone has to work one short day(8hrs), where they come in late, out of every 14 days. We have several short days scheduled on Sunday since it is usually slow. I meet with the north side at 0600 and do the normal reading of bolos. Officer safety notices from our department and surrounding agencies are the most important. A typical bolo would be something like, Joe Blow is off his meds, has a gun, and is threatening suicide by cop. He is driving a yada, yada, yada, last seen, yada. We work our way through all of those and then talk about the previous nights calls. Mostly domestics and things that might carryover to our shift so that officers have a little heads up if they get dispatched to one of those locations. We talk about any special assignments or activities for the day and I try to show a brief training video or discuss a call that might have a lesson in it. Pretty much what you would expect. There is the occasional comment about a suspect or where somebody is going to meet for breakfast and we dismiss. Then I meet everyone at the cabinets to check out electronic ticket writers and printers. I have the key and have to sign out the devices. We then go to the Radar cabinet where we do the sign out thing again. Occasionally I also inventory their vehicles but not on JB's shift. He can do that when he is back. Officers inventory their cars on the in-car video every morning but every couple of weeks sergeants are expected to physically do this also. By now it is 0640 or so. Night shift south side has been covering the street for the last 40 minutes since night shift north side went home at 0600. Most of them have already started congregating in their sergeant's office but some are still dragging in. Twelve hour shifts have their advantages but it is hard to remember what they are at the end of a long quiet night. By now some of my guys are starting to show up for briefing. I usually spend these 15 or so minutes going through e-mails and making sure I have all the special events and close patrols listed for south side. At 0700 I start squad meeting and the whole dance repeats itself with the crew that I am routinely responsible for. There are 9 officers assigned to B-shift, South, or as we sometimes refer to it, the BS shift. There are very unique personalities on most shifts and this one is no exception. They are funny, somber, quiet, loud, but all professional and serious about doing the job. By 0740 I have been at work for a couple of hours but all we have done is clear the decks.
The hall is quiet again save for the occasional officer working on a report that he didn't finish last night. I spend this time planning and preparing while I can. I listen to the radio, which is usually quiet on a Sunday morning, and occasionally glance at the calls being dispatched on the computer. With CAD (computer-aided dispatch) most calls are put into the computer by the call taker or 911 operator and sent to the officer through the computer in their car. Here the officer can see the address and read the call notes as well as check previous calls at that location. Through out the day I am watching the computer in my office, or the computer in the expedition, for calls that I need to go to. Dispatch will usually make me aware but I should respond to major calls such as serious injury accidents, or any call where several officers will respond. On day shift this includes dead bodies.
We seem to have a dead body at least once a week. For some reason the last 5 have all been naked. I don't know how to explain it but we have guessed it to be that they were either hot and sweaty from having the heart attack and trying to cool off or they just happened to be changing clothes or coming out of the shower. Anyway, lately I try to limit the amount of time that I don't have on clothes, I mean, who knows. Today however the streak is ended. The 63 year old woman with pancreatic cancer that died 2 days ago, smoking marijuana in her bed, was dressed. How the burn on the sheet, from the pipe, did not start a fire, is a mystery to me. Anyway, one of my senior officers handled the call in his typical, professional way. He was great with the family, explaining the process and helping them know what was happening all along the way. Senior officers make my job so easy.
As the shift starts to wind down around 1630 or so things start getting harried. I have to check all the crime reports in the computer and whisk them, electronically, on to records while maintaining a list of case numbers to compare against the list of calls. This is to insure that all reports are completed for major calls, and to verify if something minor will be completed the next day. I also check accident reports in the inbox and discuss the days events with each shift during a debrief before they go home. Also, all that checking out that I did this morning is all checked back in. At 1858 or so, I say goodnight to the weary crew standing around my office and watch their disposition change as they realize that the weekend has started. That's the good thing about 12 hours shifts, lots of weekends. This week we are off Monday, Tuesday. We come back Wednesday, Thursday and are off Friday-Sunday. Well that was my day. I think it was pretty typical. I may be able to go back to sleep now.


1 comment:

  1. Daddy - Wow, I love reading about your typical day... You are in charge of a lot of things! Cars, ticket writing equipment, officers and their education, preparedness, etc. I'm so glad that you are in charge of these things as I can't think of anyone more apt to handle all of the underlying emotional and organizational intricacies involved with all of those people and things getting where they need to be in the right shape in order for peace to be kept.
    You are my hero.

    Favorite moment of the above blog:
    1. "Lately, I try to limit the amount of times that I don't have on clothes, I mean, who knows?" LOL