*Note: Out of Sequence with Chapter 8*
9. Dispatch POV
Eight stations, adjustable level monitors or keyboards for comfort. A dispatcher could stand or sit as he or she felt. Back saving seats were available that would allow the person using the chair would be in a partial kneeling position that kept pressure points off of the back.
All in all the stations were very ergonomic with colored displays that indicated on a map where each unit was and their status. Red for committed to a call. Green for available, yellow, blue, white with red lettering all with various needs for out-of-service units. Fire and ambulance shown on other maps with a supervisor with an overview option of all units. But this made for a very busy screen. Supervisor usually had four screens available with touch screen overlays as they wished.
Normal traffic that early evening, running warrant checks on simple traffic stops (A standard procedure). Taking complaints of dogs barking. Report of a car running over a fence on a remote road between two ranchers. One of the ranchers was hauling horses and cut a corner to tight.
Overmodulated radio traffic squawked over a channel into a headset, plugged into the USB jack that served the dispatcher for communication and data.
Carol ‟The Crush” Swenson, the designated batter and home run queen for the departments baseball team stood up and motioned over to supervisor.
‟Mike, can you come here please? I can’t make ou…oooww!” She ripped her headset out of her ear and unplugged it from the console. Hitting a button and playing it in loudspeaker.
‟…shot! We have doors locked in the foyer. We need backup now! Goddammit now!”
‟Where is that?”
‟That is Adkins on the first floor.”
Mike nodded. ‟Code-33.”
‟Activate SWAT, tell them we have a shooter in the waiting room of the first floor.” He said pointing to Carol.
Plugging into his console, he hit emergency tones over the dispatch channel.
‟All units, code thirty-three is in effect. Emergency traffic only. All units code three-three. A shooting in progress at zero main street lobby.”
Carol made motions with her hands, sign language between the dispatchers. An excellent group that had worked together and had shined through several disasters over the years.
‟All units, emergency traffic. Shooting in progress at zero main street, police lobby. We have the lobby locked down, backup needed from all available units. Fire and EMS are staging at six blocks away at Center and Main.”
The other dispatchers tapped in their patrol unit’s numbers on their CAD systems and dispatched every single unit that had not already been assigned elsewhere. Only the most important calls were kept active.
Sheriff deputies. Six from the north county, four from the south. ETA given at twenty minutes for the north end and twenty-five minutes for south.
Police units from the seventy-five thousand population seaside city had ETA of two to fifteen minutes.
‟Mike, Fire and EMS is en route to the staging area.”
Concussions echoed through the ventilation system, huge booms rattled the building.
‟Crap. All extra personnel out. Gwen, get your rifle.” Mike checked his sidearm and put on the holster that lived in his drawer. In a quarter-century in dispatch, he never had the thought that the police headquarters would be a target for an attack.
The watch commander’s voice came up on the radio, she called for EMS to respond as she had officers down. Suzanne Irby’s eyes were wide as the little English woman was on the edge of panic, it was only her fourth month on the job.
Officer Gwen Davies walked in with an automatic rifle and placed it close to her desk. She took a place behind monitors that watched the hallways on the second basement level. No one would walk down the passage without her seeing them. Ex-military, she would give them her own version of hell with her rifle.
Sitting at the north end of the dispatch room. She had, at one time when the architect designed it, an unfettered view of the doors.
In the years since, walls went up with monitors mounted to code requirements, faith in the idea that no one would possibly ever penetrate to the heart of the police department had let the need for more equipment and displays allow for blind spots.
Without dispatch handling all the phones, maps, different agencies and the computer indicated alarms that came in the emergency systems, the police units would be lost. So monitors and maps, graphical displays of the communities took precedence over protection that was not needed in the dispatch area anyway.
Considered as one of the most protected areas of the department, no access by the public, no chance for the security could be compromised.
No chance at all.