You find it rewarding to be a Communications Training Officer (CTO), but it’s been a long day with the trainee that hasn’t gone well. You are so busy that your 12 hour shift has turned into 14 and finally the time to go home arrives. But then you remember…you still need to fill out your daily observation (field training paperwork) for the new dispatcher.
CTOs are a critical component for a successful trainee experience, and their documentation is imperative for liability protection. While most dispatch centers have high tech software for handling calls, many are still using pen and paper for their daily observations and other on-boarding documentation. If the agency happens to use a Word document or PDF fillable form, these forms still need to be printed and signed to ensure the trainee receives feedback.
The cumbersome nature of manual paper forms creates a hassle to track information down and ensure that a trainee’s file is complete. Quality issues arise in the absence of a consistent, standardized training program. These challenges result in a limited ability to address training issues in a timely manner and be proactive in preventing problems. And without easy, real-time access to the data, supervisors can look like they’re out of touch when asked about the status of a trainee or the overall group, especially on short notice.
It doesn’t have to be that way any longer! Agency360 is on a mission to change this approach. Our web-based field training software is designed to manage the documentation of your on-boarding training program online. Using Internet connectivity, trainers, trainees, supervisors, and administrators can access and complete their information anytime, anywhere. With fields that you can modify, the software can be adapted to your way of training and help ensure your agency-specific policies and procedures are covered.
To learn more check out our website at http://www.agency360.com?utm_source=withinthetrenches or come see us in Booth 154 at the NENA Conference in Denver June 29th and 30th!
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By Ricardo — 7 years ago
For years now I have heard this after saying what I do for a living, “Wow, that sounds interesting. So what’s your best or worst call?” Now, I’ve heard this many times and at first I was annoyed with it. I never wanted to say what I did for a living but then I thought about it. Why exactly do people want to know about what I do? The general public’s curiosity made me even more curious. After talking to several people I found out that they want to know because it’s not something you hear about that often. What we do for a living is very interesting and people really want to hear our stories.
All this curiosity has made me more than happy to talk about what I do. I’ve been in this line of work for a long time and I have heard just about everything you can think of. I’ve taken suicidal calls, medical calls, shootings, funny calls, car chases, and many more. I could blow your mind with the calls I’ve taken and you would be left with the question, “How do you do this for a living?” My answer would be, “It’s what I do and I’m damn good at it.” I have also shared moments with my work family that will never be forgotten and to explain it to someone would only scratch the surface of those specific moments. It’s these stories that I want to share with people; the calls you don’t hear and are curious about.
One time I was working the night shift with two of my co-workers. The night was rather calm and I was on radios. We talked throughout the night, which seemed to drag on, and a trooper keys up on the radio and says that he’s checking a residence for a girl that was possibly being held there by her boyfriend. I asked if he wanted any status checks and he said he was 10-5. This means that he doesn’t need any status checks. My co-workers and I went back to chatting and a couple minutes into the call an officer yelled something that no one ever wants to hear.
“SHOTS FIRED, SHOTS FIRED, OFFICER HIT.”
I can’t describe the feeling that went over me but my co-workers and I jumped into action to get an ambulance out to the scene to stage and direct other officers to assist those who were out at the house. It was unnerving to be in the dark of what was going on out there. We knew the gist but the specifics were unclear. We helped by looking up info on the house and it’s possible occupants. Anything the officers asked for we did it. After that we sat there as each officer called out his or her perimeter location. The standoff lasted past our shift and when I got home I couldn’t sleep. After a while I had to force myself to go to bed. When I woke up I looked online for the news story. It turned out that the suspect was arrested, one person died, and the officer who was shot was fine.
Moments like this happen at any time and I’ve seen my fair share. My experience in dispatch is not only interesting but it’s amazing. It’s something I want to share with everyone and I want you, the readers of this blog, to know more about what we as 9-1-1 dispatcher’s go through during these moments. It is also the basis of a Kickstarter project I started that will include a live podcast featuring the stories of 9-1-1 dispatchers. This podcast would give you a better idea of what we do and deal with. It will also start with dispatch but eventually I would like to add police, fire, and EMS. I will provide a link below to the Kickstarter page for pledges and rewards. Any help you can provide would be appreciated. My fellow dispatchers and I have many stories and this is just one way you can hear about them.
(Kickstarter – Within the Trenches Project Page)Post Views: 514
By Ricardo — 8 years ago
How smart are kids these days? I would say, judging from my 7 year old, that kids are very smart. I’m sure my parents said the same thing when I was younger and I’m sure I thought I was awesome but now I’m the adult and I’m paying for it. My 7 year old Logan comes up with some interesting thoughts and concepts. There are times where I have to have him repeat it because it’s so out there, yet logical, that it takes me a moment to wrap my brain around it. He’s does great in math and he reads a grade level higher than others in school. I can’t even spell anything out in adult conversation because he’s already putting it together. It’s crazy how fast he picks things up.
One evening my wife and I were making Spagetti for dinner and he was saying that he did not want any cheese because he doesn’t like square cheese. I laughed at him and said,
“Buddy, you love cheese.”
“Yeah, but not square cheese.”
“Well, mom is shredding it up right now so it’s no longer a square.”
“The shredded pieces are the shape of a rectangle so it’s still somewhat of a square.”
I froze and I felt my face get hot. I looked at my wife as she tried her hardest to hold back from laughing.
“He got you there Rich.”
What else could I say? He got me and all I could do was laugh and think, “Crap! This kid is too smart for his own good.”
He’s clever and blows my mind at times. He also listens way more than I realize. I mean, we as adults speak in front of our kids and either use codes or spell things out in order to converse without them knowing what exactly is going on. It’s not until they repeat something you’ve said that you realize your kid has been paying attention the whole time. For example, Logan and I had gone to the store and a song came on the radio where the female lead singer was screaming into the mic.
“Dad, are you sure that’s a girl?”
“Yeah buddy, I saw this band live and they’re all girls.”
“Wow, they’re awesome!”
“Heck yeah! I wonder how they can scream like that without hurting their throats?”
“Well dad…I guess they just put their back into it.”
I busted up laughing. Once again he got me. I always say, “Put your back into it”, and I don’t ever think he’s paying that much attention to what I say but when he repeated it without skipping a beat it cracked me up. Kids are pretty clever and when they read it makes it harder to hide certain things. Another example of how smart kids are comes from a conversation between my wife and our son.
“Logan, can you bring me my vitamins?”
“Yeah, I’ll open it and bring it to you.”
“I don’t think you can open it Logan. It’s child-proof.”
Logan opens the bottle and brings it to his mom.
“Logan, how’d you do that?”
“Mom, it’s only child-proof for kids who can’t read. See, it tells you how to open it on the bottle.”
How true is this? I mean, seriously? The only reason stuff is child-proof is because at a young age kids have not yet learned to read. The directions are right out in the open for adults because we can read. See…kids are a lot smarter than us. They learn new and advanced subjects a lot earlier than we did because kids absorb things like a sponge. It’s amazing how much information they take in and distribute and they are doing this without the burden of every day life. I think they could take over the world if we let them. The only reason we stay in power is because we’re bigger. So, how many of you have dealt with a similar situation? How many of you see yourself in your kids when their doing something clever. I know I’ve seen myself many times through my son. He is in fact a version of myself at that age, but he’s evolving and surpassing me. It’s definitely a sight and something great to experience.Post Views: 632
By Ricardo — 9 years ago
How many of you golf? How many of you are excellent golfers? Well, let me tell you something; I’m neither. I have golfed once and not only was it fun but I completely sucked at it. I didn’t think it was going to be that hard but I still had fun. I mean, I really had fun. What started out as a friendly round of golf, turned into one hilarious event. It was a couple years ago and I had been invited to a bachelor party for a friend of mine from Holland. There was a large group of us and it had been decided that we play 18 holes of golf. Now I had never played a round in my life. I had always wanted to but never had the chance so when this came up I was pretty nervous. We started around noon and I was paired with a good friend of mine who I will call Geddy. All groups contained four players and we were second to the last to begin our game.
As I stated before I was pretty nervous and when it was my turn I had to ask how to swing. I had no clue and felt like a fool. After a couple practice swings I went for it. Boy was I happy! I swung and heard the sound of impact as I connected. I looked for my ball in the air but what I quickly realized was that the sound of impact was from somewhere else. I looked down and there it was, all by its lonesome and laughing at my misfortune. I had completely wiffed it and I am sure that if there had been a fire close by, the air from my swing would have put it out. My swings remained awkward but I didn’t care. We were allowed to bring our own alcohol so it made it even more fun and there was no room to care about my golf swing. Throughout our game the last group of guys who were with our party kept catching up to us. At one point there were eight of us attempting to make a shot at once and when you combine that with alcohol it makes for a good time but it pisses the other players off. One of the guys hopped on top of a golf cart and was holding on for dear life while the driver went over a hill “Jackass” style.
We were between the 15th and 16th hole when the guys in back of us pulled up and nailed the back of our cart. The guy who had previously been riding on top of the golf cart was now reaching forward to untie our golf bags to make them fall. We were laughing at his attempts and his driver slammed on the brakes and we continued with the other guy holding on to the back and his legs were dragging on the path. He yelled for us to stop and when we did he fell over, gasping for air, slightly wet from peeing himself and saying he was fine. The only thing Geddy and I could say was,
“Glad you enjoyed yourself at my expense.”, our friend replied.
It was an all around good time and we had been there all day. My first experience golfing was outstanding but some people were getting fed up and annoyed with us. When we got to the 16th hole the last group decided to jump ahead of us. As they made their way to the 17th hole, two older gentlemen pulled up behind us. Out of no where another guy pulled up and started yelling.
“You need to get moving you here me?”
“And who the hell are you,” asked Geddy.
“I’m the golf course ranger (GCR) now move it!”
Our group began to laugh. I had no idea that there was such a thing as a GCR and it was hard to take him seriously since he was about to stock the vending machine with pop and snacks. He was dressed like a hall monitor and tan as can be. Picture a hot dog in the microwave after one minute. It’s stiff, split open, and looks burnt and wrinkled. You can’t get more tan or wrinkled than that. So we played ball and told him that we would hurry and GCR moved ahead to the 17th hole. I had just taken my shot when I heard the two fools in back of us talking smack. Geddy and I turned and stared them down a bit and I turned back in time to hear the beginning of an argument.
“Don’t you ever talk to me like that!”, yelled one of the members of our group.
GCR had said something to the group ahead of us and it was getting ugly. The guys in back of us hopped in their golf cart and split to help GCR. I looked at Geddy and I told him that we should go and help our group. We were laughing and it was stupid. A brawl was about to break out on the golf course and for me this was great! I thought golf was going to be boring but it was turning out to be superb! We were getting ready to head over when we saw them break up and the older fellas came back behind us. We made our shots and moved toward the 17th hole. We had decided to move fast and made our crappy shots and moved to the final hole.
Geddy had taken his shot and the two old guys, who I will name Munch and Chip, were at the 17th.
“Way to go A-hole”, yelled Munch.
Both Geddy and I turned around to see the angry smug look of Munch and Chip.
“Yeah we’re talking to you, the both of you”, said Chip.
“WTF is your problem man?”, asked Geddy.
Munch and Chip stood there for a moment and then turned around. Geddy and I got into our cart and started to take off when Munch and Chip pulled up and nailed the back of our cart. It was on and as we got out of the cart I pulled out one of my clubs.
“WTF is your problem?”, Geddy asked again.
“You know what you did!”, yelled Munch.
I stood there waiting for a swing. Just one swing is all it would take.
“You screwed up our game by doing what you did you jerks! We have been behind you guys this whole time and all you have done is goof off.”
Apparently Chip thought we had purposely put the wiffel ball that is attached to the flag pole down in order to block their ball from going in. This was not so, I still have no idea how it fell but it had not been us. At one point during the argument, Munch asked if we wanted to fight. Now these guys were in their mid to late 50’s. Their skin was also that of GCR and hanging to places unknown. We were in our late 20’s and we would have destroyed them but in the end they decided to walk away and they apologized. We were finally at the 18th hole and I was nervous about my last shot. I took a few practice swings and when I was comfortable I let it rip. I nailed it good but it went off to the right. I yelled, “Fore!” and watched in slow motion as it made its way to a couple who were making their shots. A girl, who I will call Lucky, had not heard me yell. My eyes popped wide open as Lucky was clocked on the side of her face. The sound of the ball hitting her chin was massive and she grabbed her face and belted out,
“You have got to be F’n kidding me!”
I gasped and yelled out that I was sorry. The guys in my group laughed and Lucky was yelling at her boyfriend to say something to us. He glanced over at us, looked at Lucky and shook his head no. What a day it had been. My first time golfing was an event I will never forget. From the golf cart riding to GCR and Munch and Chip wanting to fight to Lucky getting clocked in the face, it had been a good run. In the end though, we were banned from the golf course. Apparently Lucky had the clubhouse phone number programmed in her phone and she called up to complain. It didn’t matter though, we had fun and no one got hurt…well except for Lucky. If you are ever out on the golf course and you hear “Fore” you need to pay attention because it might be me out there driving one into your face. Anyone want to golf?Post Views: 456