2008-02-12

Where was that again?

The second time I worked for the RCMP, I was a Telecommunications Operator - Civilian Member even. This meant I was no longer paid by the city, I was paid by the Feds and much better I might add.

This job was in a different town, a bit north of home, much smaller place, but it was designated as sub-division headquarters. I have attached a picture of AB, I added a red line about where the subdivision boundaries are. If you follow the hwy up from the green city to where there are two dots side by side, headquarters is the dot on the right - Peace River. It is somewhat central to the s/div so it makes a kind of sense, until you realize that the town only has about 6000 people.
Yes, it takes up about a quarter of the province too - the green dot and the bottom three red dots were all answered by the people at the detachment in GP (green dot) all of the rest went through Peace River. Thirteen detachments, only one of which did not have either a reserve or Metis settlement. The rest made up for that one by have multiples though. We only had two phones with dedicated lines so we knew where those calls were coming from, the rest came in like on an 800 number - anonymously.

My job was to answer phones from all of these places and to advise the cops where they were needed by radio. Usually during the day, the larger detachments had someone in the office, so it was mainly evenings, nights and weekends that we were busy. The other part of my job was to make sure I knew where the cops were, what they were up to and get them help if they needed it and check the computer for warrants etc.

So, you needed to wade through all of that to understand my level of amused frustration about this call:


Me: RCMP how can I help you?

Caller: I need the police for ... (I can no longer remember - maybe a b&e - nothing urgent)

Me: where are you calling from?

Caller: Home

(yeah, thats helpful!)

Me: I'm sorry sir, what town are you calling from?

Caller: I don't live in town.

Me: What is the town nearest to where you live sir?

Caller: Oh, I don't live near town, I must be at least 20 miles out of town.

Me: I'm sorry sir, I am in Peace River, at this hour all the local detachments transfer their calls to me. I need to know what detachment or town you live near or I can't send anyone out to help you.

Caller: Oh, okay, you head west 4 miles then .....(gave me complete directions except the town name)

Me: Sir, are those directions from Peace River?

Caller: No, why would I give you directions from Peace River?

Me: As I just said sir, I am in Peace River and I need to know which detachment you usually call if you require assistance.

Caller: Oh, well, I am outside of ***** where the hell do you think I am? Why am I talking to Peace River?


He then hung up. I had taken the pertinent info, name and what the problem was prior to trying to find out where he was thankfully, so I was able to dispatch a cop out. Thank goodness it was a quite night across the rest of the s/div though.

11 comments:

the Bag Lady said...

Ah, yes, the Bag Lady remembers your frustration at times like that.
Imagine what it is like now...all the calls go to Edmonton. Mind you, with the modern advances like call-display, things must be quite different.

Leah J.Utas said...

Ah, yes. Some people just don't get the concept of answering a simple question.

Reb said...

Sis, I would hope things are different now, but somehow I doubt it. Besides with all the new prefixes and cell #'s, you can't really tell anymore where a call is from.

I can hardly wait until we have 10 digit local calling! Later this year! =(

Leah, I think listening and comprehension skills help too.

Jo said...

That was funny...I file that under "People Unclear of the Concept" :) Kind of like when I'm talking to my mom on the phone and she says, Will you look at that? I can't believe it---look!

Reb said...

Yes Jo, that is exactly it!

Hilary said...

Oh I hope you have more of those stories. I love those along with tech support tales. I can only imagine your frustration at the time, but I'm finding it quite amusing.

Ten digit phone numbers take a while to get used to.. about a year or so. Eventually it becomes second nature to use the area code along with the usual number.

Merry said...

A year ago (or thereabouts) there was a woman in a Portland (Oregon) suburb who had the police called to her house for some reason. A little while later she called 911 to ask them to send the policeman back to her house, because he was cute and she wanted a date.
The TV news played a portion of the call. The operator was telling her to get off the line, and the woman kept saying that it was hard to find a cute man these days, and she was lonely.
I don't remember if she got jail time or just a fine, but she did get the book thrown at her.

Reb said...

Hilary, I am sure I can dreg up a few more of those tales. It was way back in my youth though, so it takes time for these things to bubble to the surface.
I remember when we had 4 digit dialing as a child! Yes, it was that sparsely populated her in the West.

Merry, that's funny! Yes, she would have been charged. Back when I was working for the RCMP we didn't have a separate emergency line so we got all the weird calls.

Crabby McSlacker said...

It's funny isn't it, how some people just can't take the perspective of other people into account and can only see things from their own viewpoint?

On the other hand, I'm absolutely terrible at directions of any kind, and always make the Lobster tell people how to get to our house. (But at least I do know what town I live in.)

Geosomin said...

That person giving direction sis probably directly related to me.
Directions and my family? Well, lets just say my husband gives directions. With me they're convoluted, involve odd landmarks and often lack basic info...like where to start *ahem*

Reb said...

Crabby, Geosomin, directionally challenged is one thing, when you can't be bothered to listen to the person YOU called? That is a whole different ball of wax.