Right now I am in the “one on one” segment of training. All the formal, classroom training is over. The six-week in-house academy was completed back at the end of January (got a 99% on my final exam, thank you very much) and two weeks at DPSST (Department of Public Safety Standards and Training – where all the police, corrections, and parole/probation officers get trained) was completed in March. And BTW … not to brag or anything … but I won the outstanding scholarship award for my class. But enough about that … 🙂
I have been taking “business line” calls since the end of January, and 911 calls since right before DPSST. During the “one on one” training time I have been working with a few different trainers. And while I know it is good to be trained by more than one person … it kinda sucks sometimes! Oh, my trainers have all been very nice and helpful (alright, most of them.) But they don’t all have the same “style” in how they do their job. So when I switch trainers there is a period of time that is very stressful – like when I start to enter a call into CAD and my new trainer says, “Why are you doing it like that?!?!?” And I can only say, “Because that’s the way my last trainer taught me how to do it?” And the reply is, “Well, this is how ** I ** do it.” Which has that unspoken tone of “So this is the RIGHT way to do it.” This wouldn’t all be so bad … except that we have these things called DOR’s.
*** NOTE: the whole of call taking/dispatching is rife with 3-letter acronyms; it is our language ***
DOR stands for Daily Observation Report. This is an instrument of torture. What it boils down to is this – every day you are being told all the things you did wrong during your shift. It documents all the times you used the wrong event type in a CAD (there’s another of those 3-letter acronyms – stands for “Computer-Aided Dispatch”), all the times you forgot to ask a certain question of the caller, all the times you didn’t map a location as quickly as your trainer thought you should, etc. And then you are scored on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being the lowest and 5 being the best.
Now I realize the need for this type of report. Call takers and dispatchers have to be “on their game” 100% during their shift, because lives depend on them … the lives of callers, and the lives of the first responders we are sending. So don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining about being held to a high standard. I know that I need to be at my best, and I welcome that challenge. It’s just that it gets a bit discouraging to always be told, day after day, where you screwed up.
And our score gets lowered for any little thing we do wrong. You may handle a call with near perfection, get all the information that your first responders need, get the call dispatched with lightning speed, and do it all with excellent customer service. But if your trainer thinks that you missed asking a question that he/she would have asked the caller, then you get knocked down in points. And your confidence takes a severe hit.
I understand that’s how we learn. It’s part of the training process.
I’m just saying there’s a lot to learn. And it can really shake your confidence when you feel like you have done a good job, overall, during your shift – and then you sit down with your trainer at the end of shift and review your DOR. I won’t lie – there have been times that I have cried on the way home from work. Never cried in front of my trainer. But it’s a 30 minute drive home for me, so that’s lots of time to think. And lots of tears.
But I will get through it. I start with a new trainer on Friday. So here we go again with the “new trainer” stuff. But in spite of the negativity of the daily observation reports, I can see I am learning the job and constantly improving. And I will succeed in this! I still enjoy the job – the DOR’s not so much.
I look forward to the day I can be “solo” – but then again, that day will be scary as well. 🙂