Posted by Dr. Kelly R. Rasmussen


First, let us acknowledge that it is intimidating and at times exasperating to call 911. Even for dispatchers who know that other side of the conversation, it can be frantic to call and answer the questions, and give the information, and then, wait.

For the Amarillo Interim City Manager, it seems as if he was a bit panicked (as anyone would be) by the larceny of highly valued items. This came out in his repeated threats that "I'm going to address this when I get to my office and you are not going to like it" and the fact that he stated in a faux pas that he was the city manager of Oklahoma city (instead of Amarillo).  

None of that is the dispatcher's fault. And let me add sternly that attacking the city manager with racist names is cowardly, mindless, and just plain wrong.

My observations from the perspective of dispatcher, director, to PhD, and expert on the subject,

  • The Simple fact that the city manager wants to put police officers in dispatch would be in opposition to the problem at hand that there aren't enough officers currently to send on a "larceny report." 
  • The fact that all citizens of Amarillo cannot receive an immediate response (contrary to policy) as he did, is despairing. Still, it is the way it is across the country, especially in the busier emergency communications centers. 
  • Finally, what was most disturbing was the way in which he finds fault with the people in the emergency communications center doing this job. They are highly trained, highly devoted, and underpaid professionals who handle emergencies in a very reactive state and pray that their training pays off and they don't mess up anything and wind up on the news (or worse, sued). 

It is my hope that the police take-over of dispatch now is truly a good fix and fit. It is my sincerest hope that policies, staffing, and procedures are examined fully and not from a singular, self-serving perspective, rather a unified, community-minded delivery.  Having known and trained some of the professionals in that 911 center, I can honestly attest to the fact that if they had enough officers to go around, everyone would get the response they demand and deserve! Those 911 Heroes are truly the lifeline of your community and nothing less! 

Just call me Dr. Kelly :)
Dr. Kelly R. Rasmussen