It's a reality that we all face, day in and day out, that the vast majority of the general public has no idea about, or would even think about. Even some of our brothers and sisters in other emergency services don't know all that we hear or experience.
We, dispatchers and call takers, don't do it for the glory, or the recognition, and certainly not for the peanuts that they pay us. We don't do it for the thanks or awards. We do it for the public. For our family. Because we can. Because we know that we are the exact person with the exact skills that you need at that exact, terrifying moment.
We make take hundreds or thousands of calls, but we don't forget. We remember. We remember the fear in your voice as someone is breaking into your house. The panic when you find your child who has hung themselves in the closet. The uncertainty when you were just in a bad car accident. The desperation in your voice when your terminally ill spouse has taken a turn for the worse. We remember. After some time, we may not remember your name, or your address, or the details of the call, but we still remember. Maybe more than you do.
There's a reason why dispatchers and call takers burn out. Why the PTSD rates are staggering in the profession. Why so many just throw up their hands, take off their headsets, and never return.
So as much as this hashtag is an eye-opener for the public, let this also be a bonding moment for all of us. We may have our differences, being a "state-y" or PD or county, but we all are hand in hand in this particular struggle. Let's use this to support each other. To back up your fellow dispatch beat partner. Get help if you need it. What we hear and deal with on a day to day basis is complicated, difficult, and worthy of talking to someone about.
Lean on each other. Let others lean on you.
Take care of yourselves.