Despite our less than ideal first encounter with each other, Cindy and I walk the rest of the way to the third floor Briefing Room without a hitch (if not a bit of awkward silence…)
Inside the Briefing Room is starkly different than the eerily quiet hallways that lead up to it. There have to be at least twenty five other people in here, all waiting for the rundown of events from the previous shift. Cindy left for the locker room to change her shirt which left me on my own to try and quickly figure out the room.
Everybody in here seems normal enough. They honestly don’t seem all that different from the coworkers I left. They definitely still had the inevitable cliques. In the farthest corner of the room sat what I automatically picked out as the Veteran call takers/dispatchers, all slightly older and completely passive about the situation. Closest to the exit sat the newest of new hires, I could tell it was their first time in a job like this because they look like they’re ready to bolt out the door at any moment.
The real question should have been, ‘who do I sit with?’ on my first day. But since I arrived so close to the start of the shift there were no seats left, leaving me to stand against the back wall with a couple other people. The guy to the right of me was short, just coming up to my shoulders (which is impressive because I’m a pretty average height). He was skinny with bright red hair, he looked a couple years older than me.
With five or so minutes left until the briefing started, I decide to try and strike up a conversation. I lightly elbow him to get his attention, “Hey, I’m Tamaria. I just got transferred here.”
He glances in my direction before turning back to his phone, “Maxwell. Thermal dispatcher. What do you want?”
“Umm, I don’t actually want anything from you. I was just trying to get to know my one of my new coworkers.” I say in disbelief, “Sorry to be a bother.”
Maxwell doesn’t look up from whatever it is he’s looking at on his phone, “Look kid, don’t take it the wrong way, but I’m not acknowledging you until you’re here for at least 6 months or you do something that’s actually worth taking notice of.”
“Damn, who pissed in your Cheerios this morning?” I say with a frown, I was quickly getting tired of all the attitude that was being tossed about this morning.
“It’s not worth my time to try and get to know any of the new hires since 3/4ths of them leave after a month of working here.” Maxwell explains with a shrug.
“I guess I understand, but I’m not exactly new to the profession. I worked in a different dispatch center for three years before getting transferred here.” I explain, hoping that it breaks some of the awkward tension that’s been created.
“Trust me when I say that this isn’t going to be like your last job.” Maxwell says before walking away to talk to someone on the other side of the room.
So much for making any friends this morning. Just as I’m about to pull out my own phone and see if Collette is still up, this woman walks into the room and everybody quickly settles down.
My assumption of her being floor supervisor for the last shift is proven correct as she starts briefing the room on last nights Calls of Interest. Calls of interest being any incident that may end up being relevant to the following shift or just a call that was extremely… unusual? Yeah, I’m gonna say they’re unusual.
“Okay, so calls of interest from last night are as follows: There was a shooting at East and Brownridge st, patient was transported Cat 2 with a gunshot wound (GSW for future reference) to the upper abdomen. Suspect was not apprehended after running from the scene on foot. Suspect has been described as a white male, mid 20s wearing black jeans and a white tank top.
Then we had a boat fire at the JawDah Marina at 23:00, caller reported that it was started due to an unattended cigar. Marine PD and Crime Scene are still out examining the scene. There was a couple of vandalized vehicles over in area of McGee’s Diner, the caller suspects some of the local teens from the High School are involved. And there’s still no update on Tin Caps and their most recent activity.” She looks to a woman standing next to the exit, she’s dressed in a navy blue pencil skirt and a starch white CDSP cardigan, “Do you have any updates for B squad while I’m here?”
The woman replies, “No, I think that will be all for now. Thank you Tanika, make sure you get some sleep today.”
The woman turns her attention to the crowd in the room, dismissing the other supervisor for the night, “As you all have probably noticed, our newest group of trainees are with us today. They will be sitting with a handful of preselected trainers for a probationary period. Due to their previous experience in this field, I have made the executive decision of foregoing the standard classroom training. If the new hire proves to be having difficulties in their new position, then my previous decision may be changed at a case by case instance.
“With that being said, are there any questions?”
No one says a word so the woman dismisses the room quickly, “Okay then stagger our everybody.”