Law Enforcement Specialties >> Communications Center >> Feels like I'll never "get it"....

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Feels like I'll never "get it"....

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Posted about 2 years ago

 

I'm a dispatcher for the State Patrol.  I've been in radio training for almost 4 months.  There are days when it seems like things go smoothly and then days where it seems like I'm a complete idiot and forget everything I've learned so far.  My problem lately is when I'm working a busy radio and 3 or 4 troopers go on stops one right after the other....I feel like I can't catch up as far as the clearances (especially if there's a warrant in the mix).  I feel rushed and then start making mistakes.  Once I make one mistake it seems to snowball and I get further and further in the hole.  I'm also having issues with developing my "split-ear."  I can multitask in day-to-day life, but when it comes to the radio it seems like I can't do it.  I get so frustrated and down on myself.  I've been told that right now I'm just learning how to "walk" and I won't be totally comfortable with the job until I've been here a year or more.  With the silly mistakes that I've been making lately, it's really shaking my confidence....makes me dread going to work some days.  I don't want it to be like that.  I know this is an awesome job, a job that I need to support my kids, a job that I want to eventually retire from.  Any advice that I can use when you-know-what starts hitting the fan when I'm on the radio and I feel like I'm drowning? 

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Rate This | Posted about 2 years ago

 

I am not a dispatcher, but I have tremendous respect for them because of all that you have thrown at you.Listen to what those who are training you say and remember they were once new and so they know how long it can take to feel comfortable. In your line of work as the same for LEOs, nothing is ever same old, same old. You will constant ly be learning. It's good that you don't want to make mistakes and strive to not do that again, but you are human. When you make a mistake try to not do it again but if you do or make a new mistake try to not get so upset that you will make more. The more upset you get, the more apt you are to make a mistake. Relax, and listen to those who have been where you are now. Good luck!

Silver_warrior_max50

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Rated +2 | Posted about 2 years ago

 

Sounds like you are progressing in a normal manner.  As with any job, there will be days you feel like the windshield. . . .taking out all of the bugs.  THEN there are days when you feel like the bug. . . .getting squashed by the windshield.  It is all normal and just accept the days that don't go so well and you will appreciate the good days even more.


First off, accept the fact that you are going to make mistakes!  Everyone does!


Second, develope that "split ear" you were talking about.  While you are multitasking, you need to keep a listen for the key words that an officer may use to say they are in trouble. . . .like HEEEELLLP!  If you keep track of your officers, knowing if they are on traffic stops, doing a building search or just patrolling around. . . .this will allow you to have a better handle on WHO may need help and help you to listen more intently for those key words.


Lastly, work at YOUR speed . . .not someone else's.  This helps to keep you from making mistakes.   Deal with one officer at a time and ask the others to stand by. . . .or wait.  If they get mad because you aren't working fast enough. . . . . .oh well.  As long as you are doing your job to the best of your ability and are concientious of officers waiting and their needs. . . .most officers will understand the wait because they know you will take the same care with their requests also.

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Rate This | Posted about 2 years ago

 

Thank you both!   I've been told by my trainer and supervisor that I'm exactly where I should be at this point in my training, but that doesn't help sometimes when the self-doubt starts creeping in, especially on a bad day.  It's very hard to not try to rush through things when you know there are 3 or 4 troopers waiting for their clearances.  I know I'm not going to be at the level of everyone else there for quite some time and I need to accept that.  Nobody there expects that from me right now, so I suppose I shouldn't either.  Some days its just so hard when it feels like I can't do anything right and I sound like an idiot on the radio.  Sigh!!!!!  I know one day I'll look back on this rough period and laugh, but right now it sucks!  I wish I could fast-forward to 6 months or so from now.  lol! 

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Rate This | Posted about 2 years ago

 

Don't wish your life away.  It will come in due time and just remember that EVERYONE has days that don't go right.  It's THOSE days that help us appreciate the good days more when they happen.  Self doubt creeps in on everyone, no matter how much time they have on the job.  It's how you deal with that makes you a CHAMP. . . .or a chump.

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Rated +2 | Posted about 2 years ago

 

You have indeed selected a very harried life.It is  an awesome responsibility.Whenever these incidents occur you must SLOW DOWN,get control of yourself and get some self confidence.I see by the posts you have received excellent advise.As time goes by you will amaze yourself by the things you will be able to accomplish.It sounds as though your troopers are behind you,as well as your trainer.I worked in a town of a half a million and our dispatch com;plex was HUGE,three stories underground and had eight dispatch positions.This did not include the two other dispatch positions which were located at Central Police Headquarters.Give yourself a break,it will all come to you in due time.I was so impressed by our dispatchers that I married one.Best of fortune to you----Dave

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Rate This | Posted about 2 years ago

 

Thank you for the encouragement! 

Mardi_gras_cat_max50

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Rated +1 | Posted about 2 years ago

 

kjd72,


I'm pushing 6 years dispatching and am involved in training newbies.  I make mistakes... as was pointed out earlier, we are human.  I remember those words being said to me and saying those same words to trainees... you are right where you are supposed to be at this point in your training.  Remember that when you make a mistake. 


Now, to inject some humor... Our Supervisor took a call, the caller said there was a vehicle being driven eratically on Hwy 1.  She dispatched the call like this: "Unit 12 be enroute to Hwy 1 near mile marker 104, look for a red Ford truck being driven erotically.  Needless to say there were several mic clicks and the phones went nuts in dispatch.  lmao 


Relax and remember, you are right where you are supposed to be!

 


DL


PS

One day you will be working and you know what will hit the fan and you will do everything you need to do.  After it's all over you will realize it just clicked!


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~I wondered why somebody didn't do something, then I realized I was somebody. ~ unknown

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Rate This | Posted about 2 years ago

 

DonnaLynn says ...



kjd72,


I'm pushing 6 years dispatching and am involved in training newbies.  I make mistakes... as was pointed out earlier, we are human.  I remember those words being said to me and saying those same words to trainees... you are right where you are supposed to be at this point in your training.  Remember that when you make a mistake. 


Now, to inject some humor... Our Supervisor took a call, the caller said there was a vehicle being driven eratically on Hwy 1.  She dispatched the call like this: "Unit 12 be enroute to Hwy 1 near mile marker 104, look for a red Ford truck being driven erotically.  Needless to say there were several mic clicks and the phones went nuts in dispatch.  lmao 


Relax and remember, you are right where you are supposed to be!

 


DL


PS

One day you will be working and you know what will hit the fan and you will do everything you need to do.  After it's all over you will realize it just clicked!



THAT IS FUNNY STUFF RIGHT THERE!!!!!

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Rated +1 | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

This isn't much reassurance, but trust a 16 year veteran dispatcher when they say, it WILL come. I promise it will, have faith. Chalk up those bad days to just being bad days and move on. Thrive off those good days and never doubt yourself that you're an idiot or that you're always messing up. There's a MILLION others in your same exact spot all over the world. You're 4 months into a job that can sometimes take someone a full year, maybe TWO before they really feel comfortable and confident in their own skills.  Trust your trainer when they tell you you're right where you need to be. No one knows better than the ones who have been through it. They wouldn't tell you otherwise. They're there to help you succeed. They want you, no, NEED YOU to be there. Remember, it takes a very special person to do this line of work. If you haven't heard it already, you'll hear people say to you, "I don't know how you do it." And some days you'll wonder how you do it. But...you just DO IT. Give yourself a break. Take each day as it comes. Don't try to rush your training....soak up every single learning experience you can. Eventually it will click. TRUST ME. I will say it again...... It will come. I promise. Good luck.

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Rated +3 | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

You are doing fine. As others have pointed out, slow down, listen for "keywords" that will immediately gain your attention. Learn to prioritize your calls and Trooper situations. I think you need to remember you are as good as you want to be. Do not give up. None of us learned algebra in the 1st grade. It took 10 years of  education.


""Life is a storm.. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes"
Alexander Dumas-The Count of Monte Christo

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

I agree with SGT405. Confidence in yourself, have faith, and never give up! The dendrites in our brains grow stronger as we learn new things. Keep strengthening them, and practice...as they get stronger, our intelligence improves. Never give up! Take care.

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

Thank you all for the words of encouragement and advice.  I know eventually it will get easier....just want time to fly by so I can be at that point already.  I never imagined how stressful this job would be and I just hope that I can hang in there.  I've shed quite a few tears over the last couple of months....cried like a baby for a good hour at work a couple days ago  .  The stress just eats me up at times.  I know most of it is self-inflicted stress, but when you're new you can't see that there's a light at the end of the tunnel.  I'll try to keep the positive words everyone has given me in my head.  I have to keep plugging away....can't give up yet. 

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

They had a saying in our academy, "THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL IS NOT A TRAIN!"  You must be a perfectionist!  Want to do the best you can without any mistakes.  Sorry, but in this line of work. . . .EVERYONE will make a mistake here and there.  Look at the DEA when one of their officers left that man in the cell for 5 days before they found him.  Now THAT was a mistake!


Another saying to take to heart is, "I can only please one person today. . . .and you ain't it!  Tomorrow's not looking any better for you either."  At this point in your career has anyone died because of a mistake you made?  Has your mistakes cost the department any money?  Have the officers you are working with shown any anger because of your mistakes?  Has management said anything that you have taken as concern for where you are at in your training?  If you cannot honestly answer "Yes" to any of these. . . . .you are where you should be!  Relax!  Most people do their best work when they are relaxed.  You will know when to get tied up in knots. . . .I really hope you never have to face some of those possibilities that could come around. . . . .yet, they are still possible.

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

Thank you all!  Got released from training yesterday.  Start my first day on my own tomorrow.  Kind of scary....kind of exciting.  It's a big step.  I know I'll have good days and bad days.  I'm going to keep positive thoughts in my head and try not to be so critical of myself when I make mistakes.  Gotta learn to walk before you can run, right?  lol! 

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

When I was on training, it was hard for me having a supervisor breathing down my neck every second of the day. When I was off of training and by myself, I felt more comfortable. I was given the tools when on training, and gained the confidence when I was able to use the stuff on my own. You're going to do just fine.

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

 Not similiar but I have a relatable experience. I was the RTO or the 'radio guy' overseas. I know how tough it is to try and maintain situational awarness while at the same time listning to all the comm chatter and informing everyone. Communications are the most VITAL tool we have! There were somedays I felt like sinking, and other days I felt like I was on top of the world, its not just you. Keep on doing your thing, every mistake learn and press on! You're going to do great!

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

 There is nobody more important than a police dispatcher; you are our lifeline. I admire anybody who can do the job; it is NOT an easy one (I know, having been married to dispatchers). Keep the faith; it DOES get easier with time. 

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Rate This | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

I dispatched years ago and for the military, so it was different, but the point is that keep the faith and take a moment to stop breath and regroup. On the higher priority call and traffic focus on that and complete the entry and then go to the next. Listen to Donna Lynn, she the voice of experience here...

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Rated +1 | Posted almost 2 years ago

 

Thank you all for the positive thoughts and encouragement!  It's been rough but I feel like I'm getting better as time goes on.  I had a mini-meltdown last week.  Once I was done boo-hooing I got pissed at myself and decided that's enough!  I'm done letting this job and fear consume me.  Yes, I don't know everything yet.  Yes, I'm going to make mistakes and sound stupid on the radio at times.  Yes, I'm going to have to ask questions and ask for for help just about every day.  I'm ok with that.  I can't keep worrying about what may or may not happen on the radio.  Just have to go with the flow and take it as it comes.  A few of the troopers have been a little rough to work with....they don't really like working with someone who is new and making mistakes.  Bummer for them.  lol!  When I'm at work I try to keep the 3 C's in my head...Calm, Confident and in Control!!