Monthly Archives: August 2012

FIGHT BACK!!!

Reading the news headlines this morning made my heart drop a little. Saddened that I had no problem posting more stories on more shooting deaths in St. Louis. Latest victim being a former St. Louis University student, Megan Boken, who was killed in an area that I have been hanging out in since I was 15.  It is by far, one of my favorite places in St. Louis, and unfortunately, another tragic mark for the city.

It breaks my heart to post these types of headlines, but I don’t post them to keep a continuous string of content present on my Twitter timeline in hopes of gaining followers; I post them because it feels that there is an underground war taking place on the streets, and the (real) good guys are severely outnumbered and/or under-powered, or even worse, those in power that lack the ability to care enough to really make a difference, lack of passion for what they do. This fact would have my father (former Sgt. police officer) spinning in his grave. He literally died for his job. I compare his well-known passion for law enforcement to current officers today and some just don’t even come close to that level of professional pride. This is where citizen/residents stop having faith in the local police. Not all officers are like this, but it is beginning to become a horrible trend.

This is a growing hot topic within the St. Louis area right now. For me and for obviously reasons (current profession & family background), this is a topic I feel very strongly towards, and have plenty of opinions about. Some agree with me, some don’t. Everyone is pointing fingers, looking for people to hold responsible (other than the actual offenders themselves), but few of those complaints are accompanied by any solutions that would help the problem, verses, just complaining about it.

My solutions will not make everything perfect, but they will help if people take note, and then take action. I place a heavy emphasis on this, simply because I do not want to see the city lost to the decay of St. Louis’s society. This is my hometown, this is where my roots are, so I have a tendency to be a bit protective.

St. Louis is making great efforts to bring up the city’s reputation with all of the new small business start-up opportunities, and established business moving their headquarters within the area. This is definitely a positive solution that helps, but there are other key factors that are still missing.

Small business owners and residents are the majority of those in ANY given neighborhood. There is a strong responsibility that lies with business owners and residents to help protect their areas. Making it known that violence and crime will not be tolerated, and that YOU WILL NOT BE MADE A VICTIM BY THESE ASSES! Most people are fearful to do this, therefore, they go about their day-to-day routine never taking into account what is going on around them. I see them pass me all the time, most walking with their heads down and tunnel vision on.

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. -ALBERT EINSTEIN

This needs to change. The police can not do it all, local politics can’t do it all, nor can residents do it all. IT HAS TO BE A COLLABORATION OF ALL 3 WORKING TOGETHER — If one piece is missing it makes it 10X harder to take back control of the city. Just the same as fighting bullies in high school.

Here is a little tip for RESIDENTS AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS  that can have a significant impact on safety, as well as, improve local businesses and the communities they are located in:

  • PAY ATTENTION! (Golden rule!) – to what is going on around you. Take the time to get to know your neighbors, customers, and the other locals that frequent your area. You will be SHOCKED at what people will be willing to tell you, if you just simply LISTEN and let them speak. Plus, this will kill any preexisting stereotypes some might have if they actually take time to get to know people.
  • ASK QUESTIONS! – Don’t be afraid to speak up about something that just doesn’t look right to you. Now I know a few people out there will deem EVERYTHING suspicious, and most don’t want to go running off calling 911 continuously; so this is what you can do legally, and anonymously that will help tremendously.
  1. Document the moment. Literally write it down or whip out your phones, tweet it, video record, or take a picture of what you witness. **THIS IS THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPON YOU HAVE…YOUR CAMERA PHONE!** I have prevented a few incidents going from bad to worse because I held out my iphone as if I were video recording the incident. Amazingly, the person no longer wanted to cause a disturbance, and flipped out that I was “recording” him. SIMPLE! All in all, If it’s nothing, you’ll never need the note, but if it is something, it could help in solving cases. If you have to, you can give that information to the police….ANONYMOUSLY.

This truly is simple to do, and will make you feel empowered verses a helpless bystander. It wont prevent things happening to you; we all know that life happens, but it will definitely make it a lot easier to catch the ones responsible when crimes DO happen.

():-)

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Downside to Dispatching

One of my main motivations that keeps me fighting for my company ever single day, unfortunately, is the hope that I will be able to resign from being a police dispatcher.  Some ask me why would I want to give up dispatching; which CAN provide a solid, secure lifestyle;  for a dream that doesn’t have the same type of security….The answer is….well there are many reasons why….thought I would share a few, so people understand where I am coming from, and how I am making the transition from this profession into an apparel entrepreneur.

I have been a police dispatcher since Spring 2009, and the areas I provide assistance for are some of the heaviest crime-ridden areas of St. Louis County, and just outside of St. Louis City.  If you follow my tweets on my @PDispatcherSTL, you can see the continuous headlines I post of shootings, murders, pursuits, burglaries, robberies, domestic assault, drunk drivers….. daily.  Due to its sheer volume, I don’t post a lot of what takes place in these areas anymore, simply because it would severely depress people who need hope verses non-stop crime updates.

I see myself as a very compassionate and empathetic person, even to complete strangers…it’s really weird, but I do.  With dispatching, you have to become desensitized, most people do over time, and those who don’t or can’t, it tends to stick with them for a very long time… if not…. for life.  Most of my calls, are things you would expect to hear about in an action-drama-thiller Hollywood movie, but it’s not.  It’s real, and it concerns me to see that crime is claiming more lives, all the while, suspects are getting younger and younger…truly frightening to me.

I don’t want to have to detach my emotional mind and sensitivity in order to maintain this profession.  My fault….. is that I care VERY much, to the residents that are stuck in between this war with police and some of the worst criminals I have ever heard of (ie: gang members, murders, those who do nothing more than live to victimize other people)  My heart breaks for these TRUE victims every time they call me for help.

Most people get in to law enforcement for the “adrenaline rush”  it can give you when you have a big call — major crimes, felony crimes.  Others, want to help, like myself, but regardless of the motives of getting into this line of work either as a dispatcher or a commissioned officer,  it is never easy, and if you are a bit more emotionally sensitive than others (empathetic) :::raising hand in admittance::: this type of work can and will hit you much harder.

In the three short years I have been a dispatcher,  I can’t count how many screaming voices I’ve heard, how many mother’s have called my lines hysterical because their 15 year old child had just been shot…. simply because his neighborhood is infested with gangs.  Not even involved with those responsible for the shooting and not the intended target.  I will never forget what those voices sound like.  No one does, and once you have been exposed to this side of society, you definitely look at society from a different view.  Yes…..you do get the reward of helping a lot of people, and protecting the officers….you help to save lives, but the major downside is you sacrifice your emotional and mental state of mind.

All-in-all this profession is beginning to wear down my emotional optimism.

I am very happy that I have had this experience to take with me, but I am very much looking to close this chapter in my life, and beginning the next one!

 

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