Saturday, May 14

a visit to the nerve center

You'd think the police would be on time, given their military command structure. But nooo ..

The meeting's published start time was 0800, but they planned to offer muffins and orange juice to allow for a real start time of 0830. So I was a bit surprised that it didn't start until 0850. There were various excuses made, all of which were lame.

I was there to observe a 7-hour training for crimewatch volunteers, but it was really 4 hours (not including the time needed to drive from Far North Dallas to Dallas City Hall at midday Saturday). No, I'm not planning to drive the back alleys of my subdivision at 5 mph, but I did want to know how this stuff works, and a trip to the 911/311/police dispatch center was insightful.

Dallas 911 dispatch center

I was amazed that a city the size of Dallas operates with so few people on the phones; probably no more than 30 people were working this Saturday afternoon. All of them are cross-trained so they can handle 911 (emergency) calls, 311 (routine city service) calls, and .. water department calls. One of the guys said that only about 1% of the routine service calls arrive via the Internet, which really surprised me. I guess I'm in the minority of people who sift through the 311 website, looking at all those wonderful categories of stuff I can complain about!

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